I agree with Dr. Wetsman -- in my private practice, I work primarily with the loved ones of people with addictions, for whom there are very few resources compared to the amount of help that's currently out there for addicts.
What I find, over and over again, is that the loved ones themselves are basically "addicted to the addict's addiction." What this means is that when the addict is doing all right, the loved ones are doing all right, and when the addict is not doing well, neither are the loved ones. This roller-coaster chaos that loved ones live with is one of the first -- and most important -- dynamics that needs to change in these very painful relationships.
Loved ones of addicts need to learn how to put their own lives back together by taking their own needs off the back burner and stopping the enabling behaviors they may unintentionally have been doing -- instead, they need to learn healthier strategies to deal with this heartbreaking situation they find themselves in.
Candace Plattor, M.A., R.C.C.
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