A big recommendation when trying to help families with an addicted loved one is to detach with love. The misconception with this is that detaching is to completely abandon your loved one. Detaching is not abandoning. I recommend detaching because being so hyper focused on the problem and how you can fix it only makes the matter worse. It is giving a fire gasoline. The truth is, and I know it is difficult to concede to, that you cannot fix the addict. If they are a true addict it will take tools which treatment and 12 step groups offer. In life it is easy to see that hard work and focus reward an individual with success. That is the case in careers, relationship, etc. But with addiction, the more energy and attention you bring to it the more it is alive. You may be fueled with the belief that if you love someone you don’t give up on them. That you just need to love them more.
The truth is that when you detach you are displaying love in the truest form. You are setting the precedent that you love them enough that you will do anything to see them get well. Detaching does not stop the love you feel. Remember, detaching is not abandoning. You are just no longer on the destructive ride that is addiction.
Addiction impacts the whole family. Hurting yourself to participate in an unhealthy relationship is not the solution for addiction. You must take care of yourself first and foremost. As on an airplane, they state to put the air mask on yourself before helping others. You must do the same in this situation. Detaching is not abandoning, rather it is a way to set a strong boundary. It is a way to stop the manipulation, dishonesty, and betrayal that you experience daily. I repeat, detaching does not stop the love you feel, and it doesn’t mean that you won’t be there when they choose to seek help. Let them know you care about them, and look forward to having a relationship with them and not their disease. Express that you will support them in any way which will be instrumental to their recovery. You don’t abandon. I would not be sober today if my loved ones abandoned me. They simply detached, and when I was willing to get help, I knew they were there.