Let go of an addict!

For those of us who love addicts, letting go can be terrifying. But life can be so much more! Read on for encouragement when getting out a codependent relationship with an addict (from someone who’s been there). Then, your questions are welcomed at the end.

minute read

Do you love an addict? Is addiction destroying your relationship, your family? Do you find yourself looking online to find out how to help an addict? Well, you’re in the right place.

Here, we examine how to let go of the fear and how to move on. There is life after an unhealthy relationship with an addict! More here, with a section at the end for your questions or comments.

Relationship exhaustion is real

Are you exhausted by the relationship? If your relationship with an addict is more than you can handle, you may be thinking it is time to leave. You might finally be starting to realize you have to let go. If you find yourself daydreaming about a new relationship with a partner who is not an addict, you may be ready to move on. Here are some other common thoughts you may have when it’s time to leave an addict spouse or partner.

  1. “I am scared that if I leave they will die or be homeless or kill themselves.”
  2. “I am afraid that if I leave, they will get better and find someone else.”
  3. “I am frightened of being alone.”
  4. “I am petrified that I will never love anyone like I love the addict.”
  5. “I am fearful of telling my friends and family how bad things really are.”

The one thing all of these statements have in common are the words-SCARED, AFRAID, FRIGHTENED, PETRIFIED, FEARFUL, and that they are all just different words for feelings of fear. It is difficult to think about letting go of someone when you have so many fears about leaving.

Where does the fear come from?

If you have a loved one who’s an addict, you may feel confused and scared. There is seldom a person who is thinking about leaving an addict who does not feel a powerful and sometimes overwhelming sense of fear. But if your love for someone is based on fear, you should look at the source of the fear. If you have a fear of leaving someone, especially when the situation is toxic, then you must turn the mirror on you and take a look.

If the fear comes from a place where you think the addict may fall apart without you, then you should take a good look at that, too. You are not responsible for anyone else, especially if they are mistreating you. Even though you may look at addiction as a disease, you cannot blame yourself or hold yourself accountable for someone else’s conscious choices. However, when you play the role of caretaker, the addict usually dictates how you exist.

If you can look at your role in the relationship and what it means to you, why it keeps you from leaving, and why it holds you back, you may be able to see the situation through objective eyes. Gaining perspective usually alleviates the fear.

Let go of  the fear…and embrace a new beginning

Notice that the fear of letting go is usually blown out of proportion because of the dramatic nature of this type of relationship. The ups and downs of dealing with an active addict may put you in a cycle of elation and depression. Fear may, in fact, be a symptom of a deeper problem ingrained in experiences from the past and not so much the present. The fear itself may be unjustified in the present situation.

I am here to tell you that life will not end for you if you leave an addict. Life may only just begin again. Because addiction can beat you down, you can become used to an attitude of negativity. A lack of enthusiasm for life can become the norm.

It is a healthy thought to know that life can go on beyond a relationship that has failed… regardless of who is to blame. We all experience love and friendship, but if something is not right, there is someone else out there for you.

The underlying truth: It’s about YOU

My husband and I were together for twelve years and we had one child together. He had cheated on me, lied to me about everything, used drugs in our home, disappeared, and was verbally and emotionally abusive and yet I could not let him go. I had to ask myself if this was a problem with him or with me.

The one good thing about my husband’s addiction was that I learned a great deal about myself. I allowed this to go on for reasons that had little to do with him and more to do with me. What I learned through my fear was that I had insecurities and underlying unresolved issues from my past. I was using my husband’s drug addiction to deflect my own issues. My husband was hiding behind drugs and I was hiding behind them too. I was able to point the finger at what was wrong with him so I did not have to deal what was wrong with me.

The fear will go away in time

Once I started to delve deeper into my personal issues and uncover self-confidence, the fear lessened. In fact, over time, the fear went away and letting go became a lot easier. When I was no longer afraid to deal with my own troubles, I did not want to be in a relationship with someone who was still afraid to deal with theirs.

It is naturally hard to let someone you love go, despite the situation. But don’t let the fear of doing something different keep your trapped. If you are in a similar situation, we invite you to reach out. Leave us a message here. We’ll do our best to get back to you quickly.

About the author
Amanda Andruzzi, MPH, AADP, CHES, is a Certified Health Coach, founder of Symptom-Free Wellness, and the author of Hope Street. Her first book, Hope Street memoir is an inspirational story of one woman's frightening journey of co-addiction that led her to uncover courage, unbelievable strength and overcome great adversity. She resides with her daughter, husband, and two sons in Florida.
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