An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

Taking Care of Yourself is Important Too

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by ProShell, Mar 7, 2015.

  1. hellonamesdana

    hellonamesdana Senior Contributor

    You're right. It's so easy to fall into that role all of the time, no matter how much you don't want to or how much you just don't have the time to worry about things like that. It gets in the way of the rest of my life all of the time.
  2. I can also agree to this. Its very sad when good people become so overwhelmed with helping others cope with problems and addiction that they forget about taking care of number one. You have to be strong as hard as it can be to not aid your loved one in their addiction. If you do you can quickly go downhill losing everything you have worked so hard for, losing your sanity and self esteem. Sometimes, You have to let go.
  3. Thejamal

    Thejamal Active Contributor

    100%. It's very easy to forget that we need to take care of ourselves too and not put our own health at risk because we're taking care of a loved one. My dad did so for years with my grandma because no one else in my family would come and help him out. And he had all sorts of anxiety and stress issues the past few years that greatly affected his health because of how my grandma would treat him. But because he's a good person, he simply wouldn't walk away from her as he was all she had, even though she didn't ever acknowledge it.
  4. lgdg090596

    lgdg090596 Senior Contributor

    I agree here, as well.
  5. lulu

    lulu Active Contributor

    In most ways my husband takes care of him self bUT because of his sickness he is unable to work. There for I have to work and take care of the bills. Also we have a 15 month old son so I have to take care 0f him, clean house, do laundry, and any other thing that may need done around the house. He doesn't seem to see these things that need done or even care to help with them.
  6. Jovi

    Jovi Member

    Definitely I do agree that in taking care of those who are coming out of addiction is can bring a strain on you. There is no doubt about it that it's strains you and it consumes your time. It would seem that we need to give those to whom will lend our time, space at times. We must healthy in order to bring others that helped.
  7. JoshPosh

    JoshPosh Community Champion

    Of course you need to be a shining example. I don't think anyone will take you seriously if you don't practice what you preach. If you advocate sobriety and health, they you should be a shining example and not someone who is all words and no substance.
  8. aimeep80

    aimeep80 Senior Contributor

    I couldn't agree with this more. Often times when we have a loved one that is struggling with addiction we lose focus of ourselves and our well being. I find this to be true for everyone that has an addicted family member, but probably a bit more when you live with the addict because you are with them very often and you see things that are not only scary, but also heartbreaking.

    There are lots of support groups available for loved ones to attend. If attending a support group physically is not an option, there are online support groups that can be attended via a chat room setting. These support groups really helped me focus on my self and gave me some coping skills that I needed to stay strong and positive. Soon after I "let go" of the bitterness, sadness, hurt, and other negative emotions my husband went into treatment on his own.

    I'm not saying I had anything to do with him wanting to get well, but I feel that may have given him a bit of a push to do so? He has been clean for 4 years and was sober for nearly 4 years but recently relapsed on alcohol. Thankfully he only drinks on his days off and limits himself. He also only drinks at night. Not an excuse, and I know it can get more frequent but I just don't say anything to him because there is nothing I can say to make him stop again. I just keep focusing on myself.
  9. chanelskii

    chanelskii Member

    Taking care of yourself is important because your addictive friend/family member is looking up to you. If you're just as lousy and weak as they are, then do not expect them to get over their addiction and be strong.

    Also, your life should not revolve around them. This is their choice, they should face the consequences. If they are able to do this alone, they should get out of it alone too. If they needed your help, give them what you can only give but still saving some for yourself.
  10. CallipygianGamine

    CallipygianGamine Community Champion

    This is why I’m such a proponent of self-care. It’s the whole concept of securing your own oxygen mask before you help secure anyone else’s. I played the caretaker role for other reasons, which was sometimes exhausting enough for me, both mentally and physically. So I can only imagine how harrowing it must be to help take care of someone dealing with substance abuse issues. All the more important to take some time out for yourself and make sure you’re all in check.
  11. karebear07

    karebear07 Active Contributor

    I 100% agree with your comment. Many times the caregiver feels as if they need to give their 100% attention to the person who is using drugs/needs help, but they often forget about their own personal needs. Everyone needs time to relax and enjoy without stressing about other peoples responsibilities. I am glad you made that point, as we often forget while we are helping others that we must also help our selves.
  12. 6up

    6up Community Champion

    You need to be loving and never be harsh towards them. Addicts are part our families and we still need them as any other family members. Talk to them politely so that they understand whatever you are suggesting. Pray for them and ask if they can join you for prayers.
  13. CHelms

    CHelms Member

    I'm the "care taker" of my husband and its been hard going on 14 years. I'm mentally, physically, emotionally exhausted. I do what I can to take care of myself, but I'm to the point that I don't care. In all the years I've been with my husband I've tried it all. Ignoring the behavior at first because I was young and my friends did drugs, so he'd stop eventually. Then working 2-3 jobs to stay away from him because all he did was drugs. Then refusing to work to pay his drug habit. Now I'm working and refusing to give him money and we argue all the time. He's going to go somewhere tomorrow, but I've heard it all before. Now I'm doing the tough love where I just cuss him out because I'm just so mad at him all the time anymore. He's gone when I need him or screwed up on drugs. There's no middle ground with him its either sober or so deep in that he can't get out unless he gets thrown in jail. Then he ends up in prison for a year or two, and it starts all over again. this is what he's done every couple years to me and I'm so sick of it. He's never really held a job he's never taken care of me and now we have 2 young children that are going through this and its not fair to them. He's taken everything, started selling their toys, thinks that with me working i'm buying everything back but I"m NOT! I'll lose it all before I work to pay for his habit. If he wants to do right he'll get a job and buy the **** back himself! I don't know what else to do but tough love. And my tough love itsn't tough enough because I left him and came back like an idiot and now I'm stuck. Not because I have to be, but because I keep doing it. If I leave I come back and its a pattern that I've never been able to break from myself. I'm going to his apt with him in the morning to talk to this counselor of his and show him/her how pissed off I am at the system. That he has to be put on a waiting list to get help when he's at the door begging to be taken in. That they have to verify his insurance and get him approved before he gets help. That he's broken himself just as much as I am. How can you be a caretaker and go through all this while watching your loved one go through hell themselves and still be strong? I just can't do it anymore........
  14. ReadmeByAmy

    ReadmeByAmy Community Champion

    Yes it is right! If it happened that you are a person who is a caretaker of a person who is struggling from addiction first you must be strong...physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a very tough and hard work that needs patience, understanding, acceptance and unconditional love for that person. But before anything you must be a strong believer and have faith in God that you can do all of these things through all his guidance and mercy on you.
  15. light

    light Active Contributor

    I agree with you. Sometimes we forget about ourselves taking care of loved ones problems. Having an addict loved one makes us face a situation when we lose our positive energy, our enthusiasm and confidence. We become part of an addict physical and emotional pain, this way losing slowly all our hopes and starting to blame ourselves for addicts unwillingness to change. We must forgive ourselves and always take in consideration that we are doing everything we can to help them. This way we must reflect upon our inner self and dig into the immense opportunities life offers in order for us to improve every day. Taking care of ourselves and being happy, this is our primary duty…everything else is secondary.
  16. mickella18

    mickella18 Active Contributor

    It is quite true that you have to live what you preach. If you are going to preach sobriety you must also be sober. Not only that, you must be in good health so as to set an example for the individual. If you really want to enact change, be that epitome of change for the person to emulate.
  17. moreno58

    moreno58 Active Contributor

    I agree with you on this. I am the same way,I have always been the one to look after everybody else always putting myself and my life on hold to help others. While this is good to want to help your family memebers whether it be drugs or alcohol etc. it can sometimes take its toll on you. We have to care about ourselves too. I am not in the best of health either, so I need to try and focus a little more on myself without feeling guilty, but it is easier said then done.
  18. Whiskers

    Whiskers Active Contributor

    You couldn't have said it better! It is easy to get caught up with taking care of someone else to the point of forgeting your own needs. I find that I am a better caretaker of my son who is an addict when I take time to do the things I love doing too. For me that means spending time with my friends or going on a shopping spree every once in a while. It helps lift my spirit in an awesome way as well! All is not lost, afterall.
  19. moreno58

    moreno58 Active Contributor

    This is true. Some of us are so wrapped up in caring for others that we don't realize what we are doing to ourselves. I have this problem, I am always worrying about everybody else how to help them get things done and be safe. Therefore, ignoring my own health and well being.
  20. tatrod129

    tatrod129 Member

    This is something I have realized for myself lately. I had been so consumed in my boyfriend's addiction and thinking about HIM that I never even thought about how it was affecting me and that I should take care of myself too. I need to be completely stable before I can help him or anyone else. If I'm not stable, I will end up stressed out and it will tear me down. It helps that I can share all of this with his family but it still does not lift the weight off my shoulders. Things have been better since I have realized I need to take care of myself too. It makes it a lot easier to deal with.