I am the wife of a recovering addict. Woah... that’s hard to say. The love of my life is recovering from a strong addiction to heroin and will be seven months sober in a few short days (woohoo). I’ve received numerous messages on Instagram asking how to help loved ones and I have decided to put together a post with a few things I’ve learned over the past seven months.
The day I found out what was happening I called an interventionist. Immediately. I needed backup and guidance and I needed it now. I called Addiction Campuses in Nashville... I’m not sure I really know how I found them. First off, they are AMAZING. They take care of you from beginning to end. They counsel you and find a rehab.. the whole 9 yards. It’s free, people. While on the call I spilled my guts to them about what was happening. Still in shock, they transferred me to the Interventionist. When I say that this man helped me get through this. I mean it.
1. GET IN TOUCH WITH SOMEONE WHO CAN HELP (i.e. Addiction Campuses)
2. SET BOUNDARIES: The interventionist told me how I needed to decide my boundaries. What would I accept, what would I not accept? I distinctly remember him saying, would you give up if he was dying? I said no. He reminded me that if Ryan didn’t get help, HE WOULD DIE. For me, my boundary was Ryan deciding to get help. If he didn’t want it, I couldn’t make him get it.. but I couldn’t support that behavior
3. MAKE A PLAN: This is not family vacation. You don’t have time to plan. Go with your gut. I wrote a letter to Ryan. In short, it spoke of our good times, our first date, our boys growing up and how I wanted him to be there for future times. It reiterated how much more he loved his family a than his drug of choice. When he was ready to get help, I would be there. But until then, I couldn’t do that. I left the letter, took the dog, got in my mustang and left. Then the waiting game started.
4. STICK TO YOUR PLAN/ BOUNDARIES: when the texts of hatred started flowing in, I only responded with, I love you. Are you ready to get help? I cut off all communication. Just because loved ones that are addicts say mean things... they don’t mean them. It’s the drug talking for them. Don’t give up because your feelings are hurt. Be strong.
5. THE REST IS ON THEM: If they want help, they will accept it. You can’t beat yourself up over it. It may take days, months, years. That’s where your boundaries come in to play. You have to decide for yourself what you’re willing to take. No one can do that for you...
6. GET HELP FOR YOURSELF: You are going through this traumatic experience too. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, be strong and go to a group/get counseling. It works guys. It’s definitely necessary and it is also completely okay to not be okay.
7. PRAY: I’m a firm believer in Jesus Christ. He’s never left me stranded. He is always in my corner. Miracles are real and they happen everyday. Without this faith I wouldn’t be here to be saying this.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, log on to www.addictioncampuses.com for additional support.