How to Love Someone Who’s An Addict

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This is not an easy post to write. I am not writing as the person who needs to learn how to love an addict. I am the addict addressing how to be loved. In my life I have been addicted to A LOT of things. Ranging from alcohol and drugs to pornography. By the grace of a loving God through Jesus Christ I have been set free from those addictions.

However, there is one ugly monster I cannot slay and it’s the addiction of approval. I know when you read this headline you were probably expecting a how to guide since it says “How to love someone that’s an addict.” What I hope you get from this post is exactly what it promises. Just not the step by step variety.

For me I have learned not to put myself in the sin of proximity. It means not allowing myself to be put in situations where I may fall off the wagon. So the first thing you can do is not be a stumbling block for those who struggle with addiction. If they are trying to not do something, don’t bring it around them. This goes for EVERYTHING from food to cigarettes.

Try not to reminisce about the good old days when such and such used to take place. All it does is make the person feel like you don’t love them for who they are, just what they used to be. I was a very crazy guy in my previous lifestyle. Now I am more laid back. I tend to play the background and let others take the center stage.

One of the best things you can do is love the person through all of their struggles. It is not an easy road to travel. I did not walk the road alone and can take no credit for the turn around made in my life. It is all due to the intervention of Jesus Christ into my life. But what I do know is the things mentioned above have helped me to remain clean and sober for almost 13 years.

It is a whole different story about my addiction to approval though. I can tell everyone all day long how we are to find our identity in Jesus and we are fully accepted in him. Knowing these things should be enough, but for me they aren’t. I enjoy hearing I have done a good job, people liked whatever I did or however the acknowledgment may come. I write this as a way to acknowledge my need to overcome this aspect of my life and trust God is enough not only for me but my entire family as well.

There are too many things in life people can become addicted to. Watch for the signs in your own life. Comfort can become a ruling emotion, longing to take over. Eating can easily get out of control (take it from me). I had gastric bypass three years ago because my weight had gotten out of control along with the rest of my health. So I understand the devastating effects of addiction and wanting to be loved.

While being loving make sure you are not also an enabler. You have to know when enough is enough. Tweet: Being an enabler is almost more dangerous to an addict than being the one who tells them no all the time. I’d rather you tell me no to an idea out of love and respect than to enable me out of fear or rejection.

I just need to keep reminding myself there is nothing in this world to hard for God to accomplish. He has brought me this far. From being an ex-thug, addict and thief. To having a B.S. in Religion (Magna Cum Laude) and working toward my Masters of Divinity. These are things I never in a million years would have dreamed of. It is my hope, when i am finished with this degree I will be able to use it well and not just for more accolades.

There you have it. Some practical ways to love an addict, and some more about me you may or may not have wanted to know. Now it’s your turn.

Question:What are some things in your life you may be addicted to?

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16 thoughts on “How to Love Someone Who’s An Addict

  1. I applaud you first off for being open in your sharing. Many people continue to suffer unnecessarily because many people succeed in secret. So thanks for sharing it is encouraging to know that the need for approval is not an isolated feeling in my life alone. And you are correct, the strength of Christ in us is ALL we need to overcome, however, it too is a choice, it too must be something that we intentionally place before is daily, it too can can be another failure in our lives if we allow as you put it ‘the sin of proximity’ to ensnare us enough to remove us from His clutch. Thanks agin and be of good courage friend.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rodney, Thanks for your comment. I just felt this was something I needed to share. I am glad there were some things in this post that resonated with you. May God continue to encourage you on your journey. God Bless,

      Paul

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  2. Hello Paul. I surely can identify with you. I hit my fist alcohol and drug addiction bottom in the spring of 1985. I stayed clean and sober for 18 years and returned back to active usage. It took eight years to hit bottom again. Then God rescued again 3 1/2 years ago. The main reason of my return was an inactive faith in Christ. I am still battling cigarettes and continue to seek His strength in quitting. As I continue learning ways to surrender myself to Christ the most helpful tool in finding the strength and courage in anything life throws out is humility. Thanks for sharing such a beautiful piece of your life.

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    • Walter,
      Thank you for your comment. It was my pleasure to write this piece with the hopes that it would help others. I am glad to hear your are back to being sober and seeking Christ regularly. We both know he has the power we need, so continue to trust in him. God Bless,

      Paul

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  3. Thanks for sharing your so very personal story of recovery and freedom. I have loved ones I have walked alongside for years now moving from enabling to unconditional love, and back to enabling and back to love. It’s such a difficult journey for family members who often don’t know what to do. I like the point about not reminiscing about the good old days and the feelings it brings to the addict.

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    • Pirkko,
      I am glad to be able to help people see sides of things they would otherwise miss. Yes it is very hard to maintain that balance between love and enabling. I had a friend point out that a trigger could be anything from a place to an emotion. I hope you find more helpful in the blog. God Bless,

      Paul

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  4. Paul – we have more in common than we realized. Come check out my blog. mrsreedme.blogspot.com. Read How We Met.

    This is a gutsy share. I’m so glad you’re able to do it, and do it so eloquently!

    Kristi Reed

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  5. So if I tell you that I like this post would I be enabling your addiction of approval? 😉

    But seriously one of my addictions is sugar. I didn’t understand that I had an addiction until the beginning of 2014. I was becoming lethargic and felt I had to have sugar to stay awake. It was getting so bad that even sugar wasn’t keeping me awake and I still felt like I had to have it. Then I read Teresa Parker’s book “Sweet Change” which was just the start of my eyes being opened to sugar addiction.

    When I first went off sugar you wouldn’t believe how many people offered desserts to me and told me that I didn’t know what I was missing. Now a year later people still offer but it has become easier to explain and stay away from it.

    Now the next addiction I need to find my boundaries on is social media, especially Facebook. It’s amazing how much time can get away from me when I just go on there to see what everyone else is doing. The hard part with that one is too many people are setting up their groups through there and it’s considered the only way to connect. There are days that I wish I could say good-bye to Facebook forever but then I think of all the groups that are depending on me to show up. *sigh*

    Right now I think sugar addiction is the easier of the two to conquer.

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    • Anastacia,
      Thank you for the comment. Anything is possible depending on the way I/You chose to look at it. LOL

      I to struggle with sweets, chocolate in particular. I’m glad to hear you have been able to avoid sugar for so long. As far as your other addiction goes I can completely understand. I too struggle with spending too much time on social media. You would think it’s what i do for a living. I have a twitter app on my Mac and FB stays open. I left for a week, a while back it was hard for about the first 3 days then it got easier. I just missed all the giveaways and stuff. May the Lord give you the strength and guidance you need.

      God Bless,

      Paul

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  6. Hey Paul,
    Thank you for being so honest and vulnerable. I struggle with the need for approval. I try so hard to be perfect. If I don’t make any mistakes then all will be well.
    But, I know that Jesus loves me, and I don’t have to be perfect to be loved.

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    • Thank you for taking the time to comment Pamela. It is hard to deal with sometimes but we have to be open and honest and realize when we are looking for the approval of people. I am glad that you know Jesus loves you and you do not have to be perfect. 😀 It is a wonderful thing to live knowing that, it is just hard to live in that knowledge all the time. God Bless,

      Paul

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