Beverley Glazer

SFYB Staff Writer

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Parents and Partners Make with an Addict

By: Beverley Glazer

If someone in your family is an addict, you and every other member of the family have a problem, too. As they say in AA, “Addiction is a family disease.” However, you are not a victim. You have the power to DO something.

Addiction is every parent’s and partner’s worst nightmare. And I assure you, you’re NOT to blame. There is no one reason why someone escapes into alcohol and drugs.

An addiction doesn’t happen overnight. It’s the occasional party, the weekend benders, (everyone’s doing it, and let’s face it, they do) until this evolves into a dependency. It always starts off as fun, until it’s not.

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So what do you do? You see the dysfunction: drinking, partying too much and too long, spending too much money, can’t keep a job, etc. You nag and cajole them to stop! You argue and bribe, but nothing works. Addicts will defend their behavior and give you good reasons for it. They’ll manipulate, and they may even say all their problems are because of YOU!

When your loved one is an addict, you live on a roller-coaster of emotion. But guilt and shame are the worst of all. You can’t change the past. It’s past. Going forward is an uphill climb.

Because you want to help your loved one, you easily make the following mistakes:

1.) Rescuing: Don’t make excuses for the addict. When you make excuses, you cover up the addict’s behavior. You’re saving the addict from negative consequences. For anyone to get help, they have to be confronted by the consequences. Rescuing is enabling.

The 3 Most Common Mistakes Parents and Partners Make with an Addict

2.) Ignoring: An addict will have mood swings and inappropriate behavior. They can be threatening and violent. If you ignore this behavior they’ll continue the abuse, and it gets worse. Confront them. Call the police if you have to. Give them a ‘wake-up call’. You are not accepting this, and you are NEVER entitled to be abused.

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3.) Money: Providing money for drugs or financial assistance is NOT preventing the addict from stealing or doing other crimes. By giving them money, you are sending the message that you accept their behavior. You have to make it difficult for them. You must stand firm. Tell them you love them, but under no circumstance will you give them money unless they confront their problem and get help.

Giving money (with clipping path)

These are the 3 most common mistakes parents and partners make with an addict. It’s not easy. Addicts will pressure you to get what they want, but you have to be firm with them. “No” must mean “no,” not “maybe,” not “yes.” If you give in even once, they’ll push longer and harder.

For this reason, it’s not uncommon to get support. Recovery coaching, counseling, or Al-Anon can be helpful, because few people understand what you’re going through. The goal is to stay strong for yourself and the rest of the family. But the ultimate goal is to pressure the addict to get the help that they need to change their life.

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Beverley Glazer
Beverley Glazer is a therapist, life and recovery coach, a motivational speaker, workshop presenter, and a former radio show host. Her intent is to give her clients solutions to turn their potential into empowerment. She believes if you want it badly enough, "There is always a way!”

Filed under: Codependency