When to Let the Addict Go
Written by: Sarah Mihm
Part 2 (To read Part 1 click here)
If you have kids in your life and are with an addict who stomps on you time and time again, when are you going to say enough is enough? Your children see what you are going through. A father, mother, step parent, boyfriend or girlfriend is not capable of being a healthy parent if they are abusing drugs or alcohol. Toxic love is a thing. If a child see’s toxic love in their adult influences it teaches them to seek out toxic love as well. You are doing them a disservice by showing them toxic love.
Focusing your energy and time trying to change someone who needs to change themselves is draining if they don’t want to put the work in. It drains you from being a functioning parent to your kids. You will miss out on swinging your children and laughing, going to the park with them, reading to them, cooking for them, tucking them into bed and reading books or perhaps even having a quiet house due to screaming matches or having a drunken/high person in your home who is acting out. Your kids should not have to see someone who is passed out, or who is slurring and drooling on themselves and not caring to change.
What your children are watching is going to affect them. Your words of telling them to never end up with someone like the user in your family who is actively using and not working on stopping means nothing to your kids. It is your actions as the enabler that influences them. Why should they be in a healthy relationship when you aren’t in one? They mirror what you go through. Have you ever dropped something and said a swear word, only to have your toddler repeat it? S*** has been repeated a few times in my home. I’m going through that right now. Either I work on my actions and create a calming environment, or my child’s vocabulary to his teacher will end up with phone calls. How are you going to tell them to go after a better lifestyle or speak positively when you yourself are not doing the same?
An addict can get help and change. My very special friend has a success story with her husband. He wanted to put in the effort to change. It is one day at a time as a recovering addict. He is doing great. I am so proud of them and her courageous efforts in staying. She stayed because he wanted help and wanted to change and put the work in. She would have left if he would have continued. He knew what he was going to lose.
Those are the stories we should be hearing.... but I’m just shy of 32 years old and I have had to go to funerals for five friends already. A few of them left children behind who are now heartbroken because their parent, who was their world, is gone. I had to leave a husband due to addiction, and have seen close people in my life have addiction issues. Some have recovered, some are in the middle of recovering and some don’t see their problem. I myself was a poster child for polysubstance abuse. But we will get into that in another blog… that one will be titled Dear Addict…
An addict needs to see that cheating on you with drugs and/or alcohol is cheating. Period. They need to get into a program, rehab or therapy and distance themselves from friends even if it means changing their phone numbers. They need to get off social media for a while. But, this is for them to do, not for you to try and fix. Quit wasting the energy God gave you on someone who doesn’t want to change their life. They need to be ready. None of us can ever tell an addict or substance abuser to be ready.
You can definitely be with a recovering addict. Until they recover.... you have to quit enabling. It helps them, not hurts them, if you walk away for now. It’s time you do something for yourself. It’s time that you love yourself and your kids enough to let go with love.