Affected by someone else’s addiction or mental illness?

Have you been affected by someone else’s addiction or mental illness?  Often these dis-eases are accompanied by behaviors that make other people angry. You may want to strike back, punish, or shame your loved one into behaving “appropriately”. But it doesn’t work.

Here is what does…

Take some time to learn the facts about the disease. Encourage and understand your loved one.

This doesn’t mean fix it for them. You can’t!

You didn’t cause this disease, you can’t control it, and you can’t cure it.

But you can learn about it and open your heart to compassion. You can begin to separate the behavior you don’t like from the person that you love, freeing yourself from blame and resentment.

You can also learn to have boundaries. Because you love someone who is sick doesn’t mean you have to allow yourself to be used or abused in order to show compassion.

Unfortunately, sometimes these illnesses can lead to death.

Yesterday I learned a friend took her own life. We hadn’t been in contact for over a decade, but she held a sweet place in my heart.

She was in my life when my husband and I first met. She was supportive and encouraging during the beginning of our courtship. One of the things I loved most about this friend was her authentic generous spirit. She had so much love to give!  Yet she suffered, and I mean suffered, from addiction and mental illness. Despite her numerous and heartfelt attempts, she was unable to remain sober or balanced.

Watching someone you care about struggle with these diseases can be painful. And some of the most sever damage can be to your self-worth. You may feel they didn’t love you enough to get well, or you were not smart enough to have solved their problem…The manifestations of guilt, anger and anxiety are many.

If someone you love is suffering addiction or mental illness and it is impacting your life and well-being, there is help for you.

Al-anon Family Groups     757-563-1600

Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA)      800-826-3632

Families for Depression Awareness     781-890-0220

Please reach out!

All my best,