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The Impact of Addiction on Friends and Loved Ones

In one of my previous blogs I discussed addiction and possible reasons behind this behaviour, noting that people with addictions are often wounded emotionally. However, addictions do not just affect the individuals, but also impacts family members, friends and colleagues.

It can be heart breaking to watch someone you love spiral into addiction and the emotions that are often experienced are helplessness, anger, guilt, and sadness. The constant worry about your loved one can lead to chronic stress and anxiety, and it may feel like there is no escape from an environment where fear and uncertainty are present.

I have often heard a loved one say “If they loved me, they would just give it up” so I understand that broken trust and feelings of betrayal are a common experience. Financing addictions resulting in financial strain can exacerbate these feelings, as it appears to the loved one that the addiction is being prioritised over them.

In a desperation to help, family and friends may inadvertently enable addiction by providing money, making excuses for, or covering up their addicted loved one’s behaviour. It is not unusual for a loved one of the addicted person to socially isolate themselves due to the stigma surrounding addiction.

 Sadly, loved ones of the addicted person may notice that their friends and extended family begin distancing themselves, this is often due to lack of understanding or being uncomfortable with the unpredictability of the addicted persons behaviour.

Despite these many challenges help and healing are available. Encouraging your addicted loved one to seek professional help while maintaining healthy boundaries and focusing on your own self-care is important. As much as we wish we could change another’s choices and behaviours, only they can decide when they are ready to make that change.

Reach out for support, you do not need to feel alone.

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Donna Douglas

Your Calm Caring Compassionate Counsellor

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