How to live with an addict
Fatigue makes everything more difficult
Since my son’s birth, one and a half years ago, I have not had one decent night’s sleep. He wakes three to four times a night, screaming. Regardless of what time he goes to bed, he wakes at five am. I am a morning person. When my daughter was small, I used to wake an hour before her, so I could have time to myself, organize, and start my day. This small routine is what helped be more productive. With my son, this has been impossible, and almost every day has been a challenge. I go to sleep with him, exhausted, and wake long before I even want to, to him jumping on top of me. I am tired more, finding the mental focus to work has been difficult, and time alone has been almost impossible.
By the grace of God, two nights in a row my son slept through the night. The second day, I woke up before him, went downstairs and got everything ready before he awoke. I settled into my home office to check some work emails and when I turned around he was happily running into towards me smiling and saying, “Momma.” After the warmest hug, he sat still at breakfast with his sister and fed himself! Later, when I took him to the store, something I usually tried to avoid, he fell asleep I was able to shop in peace. While I was waiting on line, the man behind me struck up a conversation about all the organic and healthy food he saw in my cart. He turned out to be an extremely generous man who owned an entire ranch helping families in crisis, housing more than forty troubled children. He actually lived around the corner from me and I didn’t know it. What an inspirational conversation we had. The rest of the day was more of the same.
Then I realized something. If every night was difficult and sleep was sparse, it was going to affect my health, my mood, my behavior, my outlook, and my ability to be productive. Somehow I made it work, knowing it was a temporary situation and because of the love I have for my child.
Negativity precipitates negativity
I mentally pressed rewind and went back four years. At that time, I was not sleeping because I was up worried most nights when my husband would not come home. You see, codependency and control issues are often difficult to distinguish. I was taking care of a little girl on my own, my husband was bringing drugs into my home, and we were slowly going into financial ruin.
Every time I would try to be positive, something bad would happen. I was in a vicious cycle but I did not know it. Negativity precipitates negativity. The more negative thoughts, behavior,and events that entered my life, the more negativity I attracted. If there was positive in my life, I could not see it or attract it.
Getting ready for change
When I had my moment of clarity and I realized I was sick of my life the way it was, I made a change. Letting go of my addict husband was a process that helped me. I started going to meetings for families like mine, I sought a therapist, I mentally left my husband, and then shortly after, physically.
I started to let a little positive in each day. I made myself read positive affirmations daily. I interviewed for a job opportunity I really wanted and got the job. My father happened to be retiring the same time. I had to work again full time to be the sole supporter of my daughter, and he offered to take on a bigger role and help take care of my child. I reconnected with friends I had lost touch with who helped nurse me back to life. Everything started to come together in a way that forced, even the once skeptical me, to believe was some divine synchronicity.
How to live with an addict: change the focus
When you are caught in the cycle of addiction, life may seem hopeless. If you decide to stop talking to the addict, or stay in their life, either way, you can still make a choice to silence the negative and accentuate the positive. Once you start looking for the positive things about you, and your life, you will start to find them. Once you find them, more will become attracted to you. Eventually you will be taking the emphasis off of the negativity of the addict’s behavior and focus on what is positive within you.
Living with an addict questions
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Photo credit: Straight - Pride