We must embrace pain and burn it as fuel for our journey.

Kenji Miyazawac

By Amy Offenberg on Mar 06, 2015 Everybody feels pain sometimes. It never feels good. It always hurts and we want it to go away. We find ways to cope. Some ways are healthy. Others are not so healthy, but we just want to feel better. And who doesn’t want to feel better?

Drugs and alcohol numb our pain. Now it doesn't hurt so much. Why would I ever want to feel that pain? Why would I ever want to stop using? Addiction is so hard to understand.

addiction [ uh-dik-shuh n] noun

  1. The state of being enslaved to a habit or practice or to do something that psychologically or physically is habit forming to such an extent that it's cessation causes severe trauma*

There are many theories related to Addiction. Some believe in the medical model, that Addiction is a disease. Some believe that Addiction is a choice. Others believe that Addiction is a person medicating themselves to numb the pain of trauma. No matter what you believe, I think it is fairly clear that Addiction is never fun. Not for the person who uses and not for the people who loves the person that uses. No one wakes up one day and decides that they want to be dependent on something that will begin to rule their world. So why don't they just stop?

When a loved one is struggling with addiction, what can you do?*

Step 1 Establish Trust

This is often a very hard step to take when you are dealing with a love one who is struggling with addiction. As we live with someone's addiction, our trust is often betrayed one too many time. It is important in the trust building process to avoid nagging, yelling, lectures and criticism. Although this is hard, our goal is to try and rebuild trust in an effort to support treatment and recovery.

Step 2 Get help for yourself

It's not our problem so why do we need help? Because it is very stressful to deal with addiction even though we may not be the one who has the problem. In order to maintain our own level of wellness while we support our loved one, we also need support. Accept your own help.

Step 3 Communicate

Talk about your feelings. Yes, it is sometimes hard to deal with painful emotions. Try to be honest and nonthreatening. Although the decision to change behavior is the choice of our loved one, we do want to be honest about our own feelings. We want to be able to share how we feel with our loved one.

Step 4 The Treatment Process

Treatment takes many forms. It is up to our loved one to enter and complete treatment. Support your loved one's treatment. Don't judge their treatment choices. Respect their privacy in therapy and know that sobriety will also represent new challenges for both of you.

Although you can expect difficulty in your supporting the ones that we love, know that there is help out there for both of you. Remember, you have the same goal of a healthier future.

*Dictionary.com Unabridged, Abouthealth.com