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For A Loved One With Addiction, Try Compassion

Addiction is a family disease, we often say in recovery. Though it is the addict who is directly suffering from the mental illness which gives them an impulsivity toward using drugs and alcohol, regardless of the negative consequences, many others suffer. Family members, friends, partners, loved ones, and co-workers all experience the residual effects of addiction. As a cohesive unit of people involved with an addict’s life, everyone has to find a means of coping. More often than not, they don’t. Everyone affected by addiction has to find a way to treat the addict under different circumstances: when they’re using, when they’re sober, and when they’re in withdrawal.

What most partners don’t realize is that there is one way to continue to regard an addicted loved one, regardless of which state they are in: with compassion. Compassion is often left as something to be adopted by nuns and monks or other spiritually focused people who have devoted their lives to giving. Compassion is in the title of self-help books, used by gurus, and is a buzzword in the new age spiritual progressive world. However, compassion isn’t a new invention meant to make people want to buy more yoga memberships and drink green smoothies. Compassion is an ancient interpersonal practice that has been healing hearts and performing real life miracles for centuries. Compassion is a natural human to human behavior that has been replaced by resentment, ego, pride, and most importantly, fear.

There is fear in trying to love someone who is suffering from addiction- fear that they will die, fear that they might get better, fear that someone will judge them and those who love them. It is easy to let a whole slew of external factors get in the way of what is a very critical internal process: love. Compassion is being able to recognize the love one has needed in their own moments of struggle and give that love to another as they struggle.

Though addiction may not be something one has personal experience with, suffering is. Feeling helpless, hopeless, and completely out of control is something everyone has experienced at least once in their lives. In that moment, there is a need for comfort, support, hope, and strength. Offering that compassion to a loved one struggling with addiction could mean the difference between life and death, ongoing using or recovery. In the end, there is nothing one can do to force a loved one with addiction to change. Inspiration works in mysterious ways, however, and one might always be the guiding light toward hope.


Enlightened Solutions provides supportive and transformational family therapy to clients and their loved ones during the treatment process. Gaining inspiration from the spiritual solution of the 12 steps, Enlightened Solutions combines proven treatment methods with holistic practices for healing to create a wholesome approach to recovery. For more information call 833-801-5483 today.

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