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Sometimes as the loved ones of people struggling with addiction, we might feel hesitant to join a support group of our own such as Al-Anon. We might feel resistance to any kind of healing work that pertains to us. This can happen for a number of reasons, and given that we experience a great deal of hardship surrounding our loved ones’ addictions, it’s worth it to explore these reasons in more depth and uncover the issues fueling our resistance.

When we have loved ones living with addiction, we tend to focus all of our energy on them. They often receive the majority of our time, money and attention. We feel responsible for helping them, and often we blame ourselves for their addictions, so we commit an incredible amount of our personal resources to them. When we do this, we often tend to sacrifice ourselves. We neglect our own mental, emotional and physical health. We stop making time for self-care. We aren’t making sure our own needs are met. We prioritize the addict in our lives over everything else, including the other important relationships in our lives.

We resist programs like Al-Anon because we don’t feel comfortable giving ourselves our time and energy. We’re afraid to commit to our own healing because we think it might take away from our ability to support our loved ones. We’ve grown so used to being fully devoted to other people that we’ve forgotten how important it is to love and care for ourselves. We think taking time to go to a therapy session or a support group meeting is frivolous or even selfish when we feel there is so much that needs to be done that is more deserving of our time and attention. In a sense, we’ve lost our sense of self-worth. Everything now revolves around our loved ones, and we have nothing left to offer ourselves. We’re afraid of programs like Al-Anon because they encourage us to start putting ourselves first, to focus on our healing, and to give our energy to ourselves. They teach us that we have to stop taking on the responsibility of rescuing our loved ones, and we’re afraid to loosen our grip lest our loved ones suffer even more than they already have.

 We come to realize that the more we heal, the more we actually have to give others. If we are drained, depleted and depressed, we can’t possibly be there to support our loved ones as they struggle with such huge challenges. We’ll eventually crack under the pressure and succumb to the heavy, burdensome weight of it all. We often learn these lessons little by little, and we open our hearts to programs like Al-Anon when we finally realize that we deserve our own love and care too.

If you or your loved one is struggling with addiction, you are not alone. Reach out for support. The community of Riverside Recovery has personal experience with addiction and recovery, and we’re here to help you reclaim the life you love. Call (800) 871-5440 today.