Taking Care of an Addict? 5 Tips to Love Yourself First
This article is short on purpose.
The tips herein are straight from experience. And, the advice offered is practical and straight forward. If you have any questions, or would like to chat with the author, please send us a comment at the end of the page. Amanda extends her compassion to our readers, and often respond to personal comments within a few days of notification.
Does This Sound Familiar?
I am in love with an addict and I try to do anything I can to make sure they are okay.
If this statement sounds like you, then it is clear that you are not putting yourself first in your own life. Most of us who are in love with an addict are people who are used to being people pleasers and taking care of others. This role for some people starts before they fall in love with an addict. It can seem normal and feel comfortable to choose a spouse or loved one that needs so much of your time and attention because most co-addicts are caretakers by nature.
In order to break the cycle, you must do the following;
1. Admit that you are a co-addict and codependent.
2. Acknowledge and affirm that you want to change.
3. Find a support person, this can be a trusted friend, therapist or support group that will hold you accountable to this change you want to make.
4. Write a list of all of the things you do for the addict that you know you should not be doing and then make a list of things that you know you should be doing for yourself.
5. Start with the first thing on each list and work on them simultaneously. Do not move on to the next point on either list until you have completed successfully the prior action step.
When it becomes second nature to take care of someone else’s needs before your own, it may take time and practice to undo those impulses. It is important that you take one action step from each list and work on them together so that you have one action that you should not be doing and replace it with something that you know you should be doing. It can be the simplest of tasks.
For example, from list one, you can stop checking your phone at night for calls from the addict who has not come home and from list two, you could do five minutes of meditation instead. The purpose here is to replace one habit and replace it with a positive action that is rooted in self-love and self-care.
Take Care of Yourself First (Instead of the Addict)
The most important part of loving yourself first is admitting that you are NOT doing it. If you can have a real and honest dialogue with your inner self, then you can start taking the action steps. It is the most empowering feeling to start the process and give you the attention and love you deserve. It can be scary to let go but it will start to feel very good to release the illusion of control you have over the addict and start to take control back of the only thing you can in your life—and that is you!