Part of that is because the partners who are more involved and have more empathy and compassion and more at stake,” says Dr.Adi Jaffe, director of research, education, and innovation at Beverly Hills-based Alternatives Addiction Treatment, and addiction educator at Cal State Long Beach.Most often, an added layer of secrecy and deceit accompany addiction.
Dating recovering addict
“Not that I ever played the victim, but it helped me come to that place of not taking it personally. It doesn’t matter how much they love you or care about you.
The addiction is primary and comes first when in its full blown state. I don’t need to try to grab the neck of this dragon and control it. The program helped me focus on myself instead of that other person, and think, ‘What do I need to take care of myself, to notice these things, to set boundaries and have a healthy life and still come from a place of loving this man?
And, while it’s clearly helpful to take an active role in your partner’s recovery and consider how you might be contributing to a healthy or unhealthy environment, it’s important not to forget about your own needs in the process.
Support groups specifically designed for loved ones of addicts, like Smart Recovery Family and Friends (a secular alternative to 12-step programs) or Al-Anon (a 12-step program created for friends and families of alcoholics) can play a particularly helpful role, as Reva discovered.“For me, as someone who has been impacted by this disease, Al-Anon was an extraordinarily helpful program,” Reva says.
Because that can give a sense of inner balance and well being that enables you to trust your own judgement as opposed to reacting out of a sense of panic,” says Pat Q., Associate Director of Public Outreach for Al-Anon.
Of course, there is a strong caveat to consider when working to support an addict’s recovery: No matter how motivated the supporter, the opportunity for recovery doesn't exist if the addict doesn't want to get better.
Which can be kind of a head scratcher: Shouldn’t the person with the addiction be the one getting help? “Research shows that as soon as family members or significant others are engaged in and part of the treatment, the odds of success go up big time. If you think that sending the person to treatment will take care of all of it, it might.
But the odds are a lot lower than if you’re involved.
Though addiction is extremely common (40 million Americans suffer from it, making it more common than heart disease, diabetes, or cancer) the path to recovery can be even more emotionally wrought than with other illnesses — perhaps because residual societal stigma of addiction keeps us from empathizing in the same way that we do for Alzheimer's or cancer patients.
Or, maybe it’s just easy to stay pissed at the person who lied to you.
'”One technique that Al-Anon uses to help participants get out of the all-about-the-addict mindset is to put your core needs first.