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  • Writer's pictureMary Jensen

I’m not an addict, so why do I need recovery?

I'm not an addict so why do I need recovery?

Recovery from substance abuse is not just for the addict. It is an important part of maintaining your own sanity from the dysfunction of addiction.

The addict can twist your reality and manipulate you into believing that what you thought was true was not. It is easy for a family member of an addict to get sucked up into the addict’s distorted thinking.

You may not drink and you may not abuse drugs, but if you live with or have a close relationship with a substance abuser, you need recovery too.

So what is recovery?

Recovery for family and friends of an addict or alcoholic is designed to help recover from the effects of someone else’s substance abuse. One of the first things you will discover about addiction is that it’s a family disease.

Substance abuse can touch anyone who has a relationship with a substance abuser. More often than not, it is the people who have the closest or more intimate relationship to the substance abuser who will suffer the most. As one of those people, I can tell you first-hand how true this is.

I focused all my energy on the addict. I got caught up in the behavior of the addict. I tried to control the addict. I kept track of how often and how much the addict was using. I kept tabs on who the addict socialized with, how often, and where. I tried to control everything about the addict. I forgot to focus on myself.

I shielded our secrets and fixed our problems. I made sure bills were paid and kids were taken care of. When things went wrong, I felt it was my fault. Not the addict’s, after all, he was sick right? I became addicted to the addict. It may sound crazy but it is true. I became as sick and dysfunctional as the addict.

I needed help.

I needed to get my life back.

I wanted to regain my sanity and sense of self.

It started by going to an Al-Anon meeting. Then I went Nar-Anon meetings. I began to learn how important my recovery was. I didn’t really drink. I didn’t use drugs. I wasn’t a substance abuser. But I DID need to find recovery from my addiction to his behavior.

At first opening up about my feelings to a room full of strangers was difficult. But once I did start talking and sharing my experiences I could not stop. I felt relief to discover that I was not crazy. I was not at fault. Most important, I was not alone.

A book that was recommended to me by several people within these groups is called Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself, by Melody Beattie. I bought the book and read it. Then I read it again. I carried it my purse for a while too. It helped me. If you are looking for ways to stop focusing on the addict and start focusing on yourself, I highly recommend starting with this book.

It helped. The meetings helped. Talking to other people like me helped. Slowly, I learned how important my recovery was. And slowly I got better.

I figured out how to focus on myself again. I set new goals for myself. I felt better. I felt happier. Eventually, I was able to make some life changing decisions, some of which did not include the addict. And that was okay, maybe not easy, but it was okay. And with recovery, you can be too.


Copyright 2019, My Marvelous Journey, All Rights Reserved

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