How To Care For Yourself

At 18 years clean and sober Willie is a big, friendly man who is deceptively reserved, and has the kind of face where a smile fits naturally.   He’s a jovial man, but not without a seriousness that comes from a life of overcoming the disease of addiction. - Willie Cisneros

At times it can be extremely difficult to have an addict in your life. You may find it hard to understand their actions and relate to the way they think. Their behavior can be irresponsible, hurtful, and unsafe, and frustrating to deal with. But you need to remember that you are in charge of your OWN life and it is your responsibility to keep yourself healthy, happy and safe despite any bad behaviors or harsh words from your loved one. Here are some thing to keep in mind for yourself when you have an addict in your life:

Take care to avoid:

· Taking on an addict’s problems – It can be tempting to help your loved one out of a tough situation, but remember that caring for yourself means keeping your life full of happiness and free of stress and burdens as much as possible.

· Involving yourself in any unsafe behaviors or situations – Unfortunately, there may be times when your loved one is in a situation that unsafe. This can mean physically as well as emotionally unsafe. It is your responsibility to make sure you stay out of such situations and focus on keeping yourself happy and healthy.

· Allowing yourself to feel guilty or responsible for the actions of an addict – Having an addict involved in your life means you may have times when you feel you could have stopped or prevented their actions or that something you did forced them to engage in unhealthy addictive behavior. Please remember that addiction is a disease and an addict’s actions most likely have nothing to do with anything you or anyone else has or has not done.

Remember to:

· Find positive outlets – Hobbies, such as reading and exercise, are all great ways to maintain your health and happiness.

· Create a good atmosphere – Surround yourself with people and environments that will contribute to your happiness!

· Consider seeking support – Coping with an addict is a hard task, especially if they are a loved one of yours. Finding emotional and moral support through counseling or groups can be a great way to feel supported and encouraged.  Some of the resources available are:

Al-Anon and Alateen

Adult Children of Alcoholics – ACoA