Updated: Jan 19, 2021
By Andrea Seydel Author of Saving You Is Killing Me: Loving Someone With An Addiction
To feel pain is to be human.
Ophealia's' Strength and Resilience.
Tell Us a Little About Yourself:
I’ve been living with and loving addicts my whole life when I think about it, honestly. I realize that I” ve become addicted to loving the addict. Some, addicted to drugs and alcohol. Others, addicted to drama and chaos.While others, addicted to pain, sex, food, work. I’ve borne witness to just about all the pain distractions you could imagine.
My first husband and father of my child was an addict and a drug dealer when we met. My second partner, a recovering addict when we met, faltered and struggled throughout the 20 years we were able to stay together.
I’ve had the good grace of familial polarities. My maternal Grandparents showed me a loving yet harsh Baptist perspective that served as a tether to kindness, forgiveness, hope and love.
These polarities offered the wisdom to guide me to my learning and healing. To find the centre in the storm of these two wildly opposite life perspectives has been my life’s saving grace.
What has been (or was) your biggest struggle loving someone with an addiction?
It is getting real with the addict and the pain in myself. The pain that paves the pathway to the addicts in my life. Then there was control fueled by the ego. You know, the juice you get from “fixing” or “helping?” It’s a beautiful distraction from my pain. My struggle was staying focused on my pain. I didn’t take my advice.
How did you take back your power in your life?
In what felt like a second, I made the wholehearted decision to put my emotional needs first. I chose to say I love this person and know that I can’t help them if I am unwell. It was a survival instinct that kicked in. I followed my HERO, but to move on, I had to break up with the HOPE that had me twisting and turning. I got clear and then started to date Confidence. Confidence that I did all that I knew how to do. A belief that nothing more I did would ease the pain of my addicted partner. I realized that I was part of the problem, an activator and enabler of the addiction. I made a very conscious and confident choice that my needs came first in all decisions I made. Once I put my emotional, mental wellbeing first and then owned it, I truly began to make decisions for Ophelia. I then committed to that.
What has been your biggest lesson or learning from loving someone with an addiction?
The biggest lessons I am learning are; patience, discipline and silence. They are such an essential part of sitting with heartbreak and broken trust. It permits me to be still in my wisdom and self-love. My voice matters.
Finally, What message do you want to give to anyone struggling (or has struggled) with loving someone with an addiction?
Get real with your pain and release it from your heart & body. I use forgiveness. Surrender to the lesson, or it will keep showing up. Acknowledge the pain you feel and the pain you’ve caused. Forgive the addict and yourself. Remember the importance of pace and boundaries in the healing process. Take time to sit in the muck of your feelings so you can release them entirely to create space for the joy and love you deserve.
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