Here’s Why You’re In A Relationship With Someone Suffering From Addiction
Here’s Why You’re In A Relationship With Someone Suffering From Addiction
Today we’re going to talk about why you were attracted to your relationship in the first place. And before we dive in, let’s call out a couple of items here. You may be really triggered by some of the things we talk about today. That’s a normal part of the process and I encourage you to come back when you’re ready, okay?
It’s okay if you don’t resonate with every single thing we talk about.
Take what works for you and leave behind what doesn’t.
How’s that sound?
Listen to the podcast episode here:
Read the episode transcript and find more details below:
A long time ago, I interviewed a woman about the Love Over Addiction program. As we started talking she said, “You know, Michelle, the first time I ever listened to your program I was pissed off at you.”
And I hated hearing her say that. I said, “Oh my gosh, why?”
She proceeded to tell me it was because she very quickly realized that this program wasn’t for her partner at all.
It was all about her. And what she’s like in this relationship.
It wasn’t about his issues and getting him sober.
It was all focused on uncovering her own issues. She thought, and I did too, that we didn’t have issues. In fact, we’re the ones holding it all together. We’re the glue. Without us, everything would fall apart. “So why do I need a program to explore myself?” she thought.
In the program we do talk about the best ways to help them get sober, but they may not be what you’re expecting.
She said that she very quickly discovered that this program was going to ask her some serious questions.
About herself and the relationship.
Like ‘why am I allowing this relationship to continue knowing that it is hurting me and harming me’. And why you allowed this relationship to start in the first place.
Why are we attracted to these unhealthy people and relationships? I loved that she was honest and open with me about how much the program triggered her at first. I respected that a lot.
So first off, know that if I’ve said something on these podcast episodes, in our emails, or written in our blogs something that prickles your heart, you’re not alone.
Maybe you can relate to this woman and you’ve been straight up mad at me before.
That’s okay. We can be honest here. And trust me, I know I say things that are challenging to hear. They were challenging for me to hear 10+ years ago when I was in a relationship with a good man struggling with addiction.
Here’s my challenge for you: take the break you need from me and this community, then come back and push yourself to listen and read more. Okay?
I want to be your biggest cheerleader.
Your biggest fan. I’ll be your greatest advocate. And I’m also here to shine a spotlight on issues that you may need to work on.
I do not believe in the theory that we are married to addicts or alcoholics, or we’re in a relationship with them, and everything that’s wrong in our life is their fault.
That does not fly in this community. We have to take accountability and responsibility for our junk.
And here’s why: If you ever decide to leave and you go into your next relationship, that junk will follow you.
You will continue to be attracted to the wrong type of people and relationships.
What happens is we are attracted to the people we are attracted to because they mirror back to us what we truly believe about ourselves.
So if you believe that you are worthless, you are not worth somebody’s time, and you are not worth somebody’s love, guess what?
That addict and alcoholic who doesn’t come home on time, that addict and alcoholic who doesn’t want to spend time with you and is constantly choosing the drugs or alcohol over you, they are reinforcing your negative beliefs about yourself.
They are mirroring to you.
You came into this relationship with this, so nothing will change if you decide to leave if you haven’t created a new narrative.
If you haven’t worked on your personal belief that you deserve more, you’ll find yourself in the same (or very similar) relationship.
Your personal work is learning to fall in love with yourself.
It’s learning to identify your worth and value. Your work is looking in the mirror and comfortably saying that you deserve attention, warmth, kindness, honesty, and love.
If you don’t truly feel that way, you can fall into another relationship with somebody who’s completely sober and still doesn’t give you worth or kindness or the time of day.
In other words, you’re going to continue the cycle, which is why a lot of us in this community grew up with addiction.
These relationships can be cyclical unless we work to break the cycle.
We grew up with an alcoholic or a drug-addicted parent, and then have found that in and seek that out unconsciously in our relationships.
We’re attracted to familiarity. There’s a comfort level of seeing somebody that mirrors back to you what you were provided in your childhood.
So if you grew up in a home with parents who mistreated you or didn’t give you attention you needed, maybe there was verbal abuse. Guess where you’re going to find another partner?
Who do you think you’re going to find attractive in your adult life?
People similar to your parents. So the cycle will continue. Until you break it.
When you heal, grow, and discover just how freaking phenomenal and beautiful and wonderful you are, you’ll be attracted to a different kind of person. You’ll be attracted to a different kind of relationship.
That old narrative and that person that’s abusive or neglectful will no longer be attracted to you. And you’ll be attracted to a whole new set of people that you never found attractive before.
It’s true. And it genuinely happened to me.
Before my own healing, I would have never even given my Brian the time of day. And not in a bad way, he was far too healthy for the old Michelle.
The fact that Brian wants nothing more to please me is amazing, but I wouldn’t have seen that as amazing when I was unhealthy. I wouldn’t have thought I was deserving of that.
The point is this: when I say something that triggers you, that’s usually an indication that you need to do some work in that area.
So if you get triggered and need a break, that’s fine.
I encourage you to come back and try again.
We’ll welcome you back with open arms. There’s no need to feel shame. You’re not a quitter. You just took the space you needed, which is healthy.
I’ll also be the friend that says to you that I know you’re tempted to quit, but I’ll encourage you to keep going.
Sticking with us, pushing through to that breakthrough because you are so deserving, and you can do it.
You absolutely can get that life that you think you want, but you’re not sure how it all works.
You’re not clear on how to get it.
All of the steps haven’t been laid out before you.
That’s okay. Don’t worry about that. You just stick with us.
You just keep listening. We’ll get there together. It might not be overnight. This process doesn’t happen immediately, but I promise you you will get there.
I’ve been doing this for ten years and I’ve seen so many women from all around the world get there. All different types of women from different backgrounds, with extreme limitations, with not a lot of money, with few resources, no friends, with tons of dependence.
It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are in your relationship.
And I’ve seen women as young as in their early twenties and as old as I think there was one woman I interviewed that started the program and she was 75 and started listening to me.
We have started a new initiative, which is Buy One, Give One. So for every woman that buys one of the programs, we give one away. The application is on our website. If a woman or man wants to get healthy, I don’t want money to be in the way of them getting help.
That is absolutely against everything I believe in. Whatever your situation and relationship, you deserve support. So I want to make sure that our help and our love and our support is available to everyone. You can go to our website to fill out an application.
I hope you’ll continue to listen and push yourself when it feels right. We’ll always be here for you.
Why did I fall in love with an alcoholic?
The reason you actually got into this relationship is personal to you, and unknown to us. But here’s the thing, we almost always look for comfort in our relationship. Familiarity is attractive to us. Depending on our relationships with ourselves, and our beliefs of self-worth (or not), we find ourselves in mirroring relationships. On some level, you may believe that you don’t deserve a good relationship.
How did I get (and stay) in this relationship?
If you look back, you may be able to identify red flags that you saw early on. Whatever the case may be, you chose, and are choosing to stay in this relationship for now. So rather than focusing on how you got here in the first place, let’s start to focus on you right now.
Working on yourself, finding love, confidence, taking care of yourself and a new sense of self-worth are great places to start.
Finding these may help you understand how you got here in the first place.
Michelle Anderson has over 10 years of personal experience with loving someone who suffers from addiction. She was married to a good man who suffered from addiction to alcohol, illegal drugs, and pornography. She's used her experience to create powerful resources for women in the same circumstance. Using her own personal experience, combined with years of research and studying, she presents ideas, tips, and tools on how to handle this disease, and take care of yourself, and your family.
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