Dealing with Our Addicts: Controlling Our Actions and Reactions

We all have frustrating confrontations with our addicts.  Most of us experience this every day.  It is up to us to control our own actions and reactions to get through this in the least damaging way to ourselves.  We really are in control of our own stress.

I have many drug-addicts and alcoholics in my life whom I love very much. And I have had a lot of practice dealing with them.  It is hard work to achieve, but there can be some peace and serenity if we choose it.

Have you ever watched a hawk sit quietly while a small bird squawks and dive bombs him repeatedly?  I saw this through my binoculars this morning.  Seeing this reminded me that we can learn a lot about life by paying attention to nature.

I’m sure that this hawk would have been the victor if he chose to react to the small bird, but he remained calm and steady.  After a few minutes, the small bird just flew away.  The hawk continued to “hang out” in the tree taking in his surroundings, with a content smile on his face.

This action (really inaction) is an excellent example of one of the most important tools I learned when interacting with the drug addicts and alcoholics in my life.  When I react to an addict’s manipulations and attacks, I feed into their drama.  And we all know, drama is like another drug to them.  As I learned to step back, not react but rather, retreat into my own inner world while right in front of them, they, like the small bird, finally back off and often go away.  As I practiced this “inaction/non reaction” repeatedly, I became less stressed. Eventually, the addicts didn’t think it was worth the trouble when they got no response from me.  As a result, there were fewer attempts at manipulation and personal attacks.  They just had to work too hard at it and it wasn’t worth it to them.

The first few times are the most difficult.  Try it.  It can change the whole dynamic of your relationship with your addicted loved ones. I found that it gave me a bit more control over the overall situation.  Have any of you tried this strategy?

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    November 6, 2013 at 10:03 PM


    I want to give you some words of caution. I do not know if you have participated in any drug use or not with
    Him but if you have it will be 10x much
    Harder. Just know that it can be a very unhappy life. I don’t know ur exact situation but when two people are married you are suppose to be one and you are suppose to rely upon one another. You may be miserable when he is high, you maybe miserable when he is sober bc he won’t feel life doing anything. And it is an expensive habit. It is draining. Children will only complicate your situation.
    It is a disease and I fully recognize that. I understand it. There is help out there but you can not force anyone to seek it and even if you do they still need to make that decision for themselves. It is truly out of your control ( his behavior) the addiction a lot of times will always come before you. I would gain as much knowledge as you can of what addiction really is.
    The hardest thing is that when you love someone you sometimes do things that are not in your best interest. Maybe you think you can help him and maybe you can but I personally would not rush into marriage.
    He needs to be clean for himself and you. You really have to think
    About yourself and your future.

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    faith r

    August 30, 2013 at 7:05 PM


    I need help! My finance has been on/off drugs for years (weed/crack) we meet last Dec and it was an instant connection. Theres been so much back and forth several times his been out on drug benging and then returns. I feel his mother makes is wroste since she wont deal with the fact his an addict; she always tries to fix things for him. Hes lost jobs; stolen from job sites; sold valuables. Everytime hes able to help withbills he has and he cont to say he wants to make it work and just do the right thing.I’m ok with the weed as long was is not affecting paying his bills; as I don’t try to depend on him for anything.i love him dearly and we wed in Dec. 2013. there’s days that are great but at times I’m mean to him cause I want him to do better. I get upset when he lies aboutcoming up short w money or him always having his mom fix things.

    Please can you give me advice?

    Thank you so much;

    Faith r

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    May 25, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    Sarah, no you are NOT a bad daughter. You are not responsible for how your mother acts and feels. It is up to your mother to learn to take care of herself and choose to be happy. Happiness is her choice alone! It is also her choice to get help. Your mother needs professional help. This is beyond you. If you are being her supportive wall, in a way you are feeding into her addiction and enabling her rather than helping.

    If you are concerned about suicide, you should call the police or call for help. No one should hold you hostage by threathening suicide. I had a family member who did that and she stopped when I mentioned that, “This sounds very serious and I take suicide threats seriously. I will call 911 so that you can get help.” Then she stopped. She was using that to manipulate.

    Wait, so she came to work and just carried you off? That is not okay at all. If you don’t want her to come to work, you have every right to set that boundary. If she doesnt respect that, you may have to cut her off too.

    You need your time too. That is not selfish at all. Healthy relationships are interdependent NOT codependent. Again you are not being a bad daughter. Your mother is unstable and needs help!

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