Let me explain what being an empath looks like and then we will combine and discuss what an empath looks like with addiction. An empath is described as “Being affected by other people’s energies, and having an innate ability to intuitively feel and perceive others. Your life is unconsciously influenced by others’ desires, wishes, thoughts, and moods. Being an empath is much more than being highly sensitive and it’s not just limited to emotions.” Insane, right!?! Imagine how many of us walk around like this day to day with no idea that it isn’t US that is depressed, sad, suicidal, but our coworker, child, spouse and we channel it into our energy system looking for antidepressants, drugs, alcohol or any other fix to ease our emotions. MANY of us live exactly like this and the very scary fact is… we are completely unaware!
Because of the overwhelming emotions we look for ways to numb, to cope. This is where addiction rolls into the picture and turns a misunderstood process into a disaster. Because we are not aware that we have collected everyone else’s energy into our already overloaded systems, we meltdown and look for a way to become comfortable. Think about this. Even those coming from the most comfortable homes in America have emotional baggage- it just happens because that’s what life is in moments- a collection of hurt, loss, anxiety and the list goes on. So let’s take those that have all of these amplified by the extreme, add everyone else’s energy to theirs because after all, they are EMPATHIC, and throw them into the world to see how the “deal.” This is where the addict comes into motion. They have no tools for coping and although many of us empaths figure it out, keeping our addictions of eating, smoking, drinking, to a maintainable balance, an addict cannot. They need to be numb because it is overwhelming- they literally feel like they are crawling out of themselves trying to cope. Those of us blessed with an addict in our lives go insane wondering why they cannot get themselves together, why WE are not worth them changing, getting a hold of their addiction. We love them so much, yet we are powerless and watch the tailspin losing parts of who we are with them.
The process does not have to look this way, I promise! We too, are most likely empaths and we are coping, handling things. Even if we don’t understand the full aspect of how we work it out- we do. Because of our own innate ability to feel others’ pain and emotion, loving an addict makes the process harder and each day that we lose a little more of ourselves with them, we ask “why, how”, and scream at the LORD to make it stop. These steps will help release the expectation of how your addict should handle things, what their process should look like.
You have to let them go! An addict will tell you anything to make you believe it is you and not THEM. They will lie to your face, cry, scream and make you believe it is all YOU. Stop all contact with them until they hit rock-bottom and ask for help. This isn’t help with money, a place to stay or anything to enable them. This is “take me to rehab” help. Understand this will be the hardest process of the entire story. Walking away from someone you love more than anything in life is devastating. Life altering. You will worry if they are dead or alive and yes, there will be many sleepless nights but I promise, it will get easier day by day.
Don’t expect a recovery! I know what you’re thinking- “what in the hell, Jess! Seriously?” YES! You have to release all expectations of what your addict will do because it is NOT your story, your life. Being a supportive roll means being there when and IF they hit rock-bottom and not a minute before. Every time you give them what they want, the process and time frame for recovery starts all over again. Stop where you stand! I am not saying give up, I am saying pray for their highest healing and pray for your strength and sanity. Do not try to play their game by manipulating them, controlling them, and cornering them. They win every time; they know their addiction better than you! You have to release all expectation but I do know there is always room for change and some addicts WILL find their way to recovery and healing. Never give up, but step away.
Believe in yourself! Loving an addict is ugly. As I stated above, you do lose parts of yourself with the process and it is devastating. How can someone that loves you sit and lie to you, eye to eye? How can they sneak, lie, and manipulate you into their world and all of a sudden you believe you’re the crazy one? This happens easily because you are an EMPATH, as well. You have to stand strong in your beliefs and know you are doing things the way they need to be done. Your addict does LOVE you and you will feel this, making you second guess everything. Until they are done with the addiction, and I mean completely surrendered, they love their addiction more. As long as they make excuses to keep using, you are not the priority. There may be a point where you have to walk away for good because the addict will never see the truth. They wont want to give up their addiction, no matter how much they love you.
Be STRONG!When your addict is finally ready to surrender and begin the road to recovery they will break and all of the hurtful things they have done will finally surface and it will be hard for them to handle. All of the lies will come out, the hurt they have caused will be raw emotion, and they will be broken. This will bring shame, grief, heartache and you will need strength and patience. They are finally being vulnerable and looking for recovery- support them where they are and give them a safe space.
Most importantly know that if YOU are an addict there is hope and life does not have to be this way. Rehabilitation, therapy, love, and a will for a better life can help you change everything. I was blessed to have a client Monday that has been clean from the needle and meth for six years. She was a junkie and had used since the age of thirteen. She lost her family, friends, and life for years and had no hope. One incident changed all of that for her and her 40 something year old boyfriend who was also a needle user. Though they are not togehter, they are both SOBER and have tools as empaths to handle their emotions and addictions. Never give up!!!