While addiction can destroy the person who is abusing these substances, their loved ones often get pulled along for the ride. Friends and family of addicts may be lied to; promises may be broken, and their trust may be betrayed. The only way for many of these people to move forward with their lives is to forgive their addicted loved one.
How to Forgive an Addict
Forgiving an addict or alcoholic who has hurt you certainly isn’t easy, but it is necessary if you want to move forward with your own life. Our West Palm Beach treatment center has a few tips on forgiving an addict so that you can stop dwelling on the past and start working toward the future.
Learn About Addiction
Addiction is a disease, but from the outside it can be easy to dismiss it because you do not understand it. Take some time to educate yourself on your loved one’s addiction. This knowledge will give you better insight into what they are dealing with as well as why they are acting the way that they are.
Part of the reason that you may be struggling to forgive your addicted loved one is because you continue to provide them with opportunities to hurt you. It is important to set boundaries with an addict so that you can protect yourself. You may also be unknowingly enabling their addiction. Setting boundaries can help keep this from happening so that you don’t get hurt, but they also have to deal with the consequences of their addiction.
Manage Your Expectations
You are only setting yourself up for disappointment and hurt when you have high expectations for an addicted loved one. It may be time to knock your loved one off of their high pedestal and instead, start to make realistic expectations for them that will not leave you feeling disappointed.
Get Them Help
Your loved one may be in denial about their addiction or not even realize that they have a problem. Although they cannot or will not see it, you can. You may need to step in and calmly confront them about their problem. If they are not quick to accept help, you may want to recruit a professional like drug intervention specialist.
Give It Time
Even if your loved one does go to a drug or alcohol treatment center, it doesn’t mean that all of your problems will magically heal or go away. Especially if they hurt you more than once or severely, forgiving an alcoholic or addict takes time. You need to have your loved one prove to you that they have either changed or that they won’t hurt you again.
Change Your Relationship
It is much harder to forgive a drug addict or alcoholic when they are one of your closest friends or family. If your addicted loved one refuses to go to a drug detox center and change their ways, it may be time to change your relationship with them. If you are able to distance yourself from them, they will be less likely to continue to hurt you and you can finally start to move on.
The hardest part of forgiving an addict is letting go, but this is also the most important. Holding on to anger or resentment will only leave you feeling worse. Try to look beyond the past so that you can start to move forward and focus on the future.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we help people with addiction and mental health problems. If you or a loved one needs help, do not wait any longer.