Is an alcoholic or drug addict making you sick Part 2

Part one talked about the 12-step fellowship called Al-Anon. As a quick review — Al-Anon is a group that can help a person who is in pain, caused by a loved one’s alcoholism or addiction.

But, what if you have tried five or six meetings and it just does not work for you? Or, what if you like it, but you feel like you need additional help? There are alternatives.

Therapy and counseling

Look for a counselor that has experience with addiction and/or co-dependency. This is especially helpful, if you prefer a one-on-one setting. Some people are shy, and feel more comfortable sharing their feelings in a private environment. But, if you like group support, there are group therapy programs too. If you feel that you have some issues other than co-dependency, individual psychotherapy or psychiatry might be a better fit. This is particularly important for people, suffering in a way that is treated by medication.

Support of Friends and Family

These people may not have a therapeutic background, but they love you and know you best. Confiding in your loved ones can provide tremendous relief. It can be beneficial to talk to people who can be straightforward with you and point out things, that your might have missed. Just make sure you are honest about what is wrong and they will give you that “second pair of eyes” that you need. I find it interesting that many times, you will share your burden with another person, only to find out that they have been through something similar.


By searching for articles, chats or online groups regarding addiction and co-addiction, you can gain a better understanding of your own behavior. One word of caution, take the information in small bites, so you do not get overwhelmed. I particularly like the .gov sites. They are straightforward and typically un-biased.
If you like reading things on paper, rather than a screen, go to the library. Educating yourself with books on co-addiction, co-dependency and addiction, can help you understand the causes of the condition. It’s easier to find a solution when you can fully understand the problem. By educating yourself you can start to put the pieces together and see the big picture.

Change something

Being around an alcoholic or addict (who refused to get help) is like breathing in second-hand smoke. After I while, it is going to bother you. It is hard to feel confident and strong when you are living with someone who does not want to get better. Sometimes space and distance can help you focus on yourself. It’s healthy to get a new perspective and realize that you can live your own life.

Get out of Denial

Many people justify an unhealthy relationship with an addict, because they truly believe that the person is going to die, without their aid. Also, it is easy to get lost in the other person’s problems and focus all of your energies on their addiction. It feels comfortable not having to look at yourself.  From personal experience, any money or support I received while “using” just made me worse. I got help after my family, severed all ties and literally “hid” from me. I’m serious. I am so grateful they had the strength to practice “tough love”. They still feel bad about it, but I thank them all the time, for it was a gift.

Resources to help you. Click on the globe for the list of sources.

Look at the following to test your enabling scale. Do you do any of the following?

  • Failing Responsibilities. Inattention to work, parenting, friends and other responsibilities. Putting your things on the back burner every time the loved one had some drama.
  • Failing Emotions. Do You find yourself becoming anxious with anger, worry, depression, and fear over the other person’s behavior? Your feelings are enmeshed in theirs.
  • Self-Care. Are you neglecting your looks and hygiene. You don’t buy new clothes, put off getting a haircut and constantly eat unhealthy? This is because of all of your energy is spent on the addict/alcoholic. You find little time to shower, brush your hair, teeth, or take care of your personal appearance the way you like or the way you used to.
  • Lying and Keeping Secrets. You find yourself making stories to cover up for the other person’s behavior. You lie, because it is too embarrassing to tell the truth.
  • Not enjoying life. You feel unworthy. You used to play sports, read, dine, and watch movies with friends. You don’t do those things anymore, because they are not enjoyable and/or you do not have the time.
Our 800RecoveryHub site offers free and confidential help

If you don’t take care of yourself, you will get mentally and physically ll.  But I have found that when the pain gets bad enough, you will be motivated to find some relief. If you still don’t know where to turn ….simply contact me.

12 thoughts on “Is an alcoholic or drug addict making you sick Part 2

  1. OMG! Where the heck were you and your blog 6 months ago when I was knee deep in an alcoholic, bipolar, schizophrenic mess of a ‘relationship’?!?! Thank you for shedding light on this bc usually the focus is on the person with the problems and not those who are trying everything to love and support them. Great stuff here…. thank you for peeking at my blog 🙂


  2. Good post. I read “codependancy for dummies”, it led me to al-anon and changed my life for the better. Just reading about issues around control and boundaries can be so useful as often these patterns are so deeply ingrained we often don’t realise we are in them.


    1. I really appreciate that you came back to tell me about your experience. There are so many people going through similar situations, but we would never know. When dealing with problems within my family, I sometimes think I am going crazy, because no one else in the world could possibly “understand”. Then, I look at all my perfect neighbors, co-workers and friends and think, they would avoid us, if they knew all of the “crazy” that was going on behind our walls. It is such a relief, to realize that the problems we have are not unique, other people have them AND there are some solutions and good choices that will make our life easier. The sickest people (I think) are the ones that pretend nothing is happening. I tried that for a long time, and it is so much work, it’s unbearable.


  3. It was nice to find this post. I, just (2 days ago), confronted my alcoholic husband and told him I was unhappy in the marriage and needed a break. He said he didn’t see it coming. But things became very real for him very fast when I finally said “no more.” Two days in of a quiet house and I feel like I can breathe – for the first time in 20 years. I’m not sure where things will go from here. I’m a firm believer in commitment and the sanctity of marriage but I don’t want to go back – not yet – not anytime soon. He left me a note before he departed saying that he hopes this will “pass.” I don’t think he understands the severity of this yet.
    I could just go on and on about co-dependency and how my life has played out living with an alcoholic. I used to question the effectiveness of drawing hard lines for people but I wish I had done this a long, long time ago – both for my sake and his.


    1. Thanks for sharing about your husband. I am so proud of you! When I was drinking, me denial was really strong. It took a lot, for me to admit the truth. I am very grateful that my family practiced “tough love” and literally disappeared from my life. That’s my experience — I had to lose everything. I am just so happy that you experienced a little peace in your life. Victoria


  4. Great information and resources about depression! Thanks for liking my post, “Hello World: I’m Back.” I just re-followed you as I was following you on my original blog! Looking forward to reading more posts.


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