3 Ways to Cope With an Addict

She walked in.  Her hair was in disheveled disarray and she amazingly had on appropriate gym clothing and shoes, rather than the inappropriate spaghetti straps and see through tanks that had taken over her body the past few years.  Her 7 day drinking binge was about to come to stop one way or another.  As she came in we all sat stone cold, lips tight, and eyes daring to and fro catching each other’s gaze in the circle we had formed, all for her.  The intervention began.

Addiction is something we all have in our lives.  Many talk about this concept on a daily basis.  It is the casual conversation about caffeine or chocolate between 2 friends as they throw up their hands and willingly admit their foolish obsession, adversely it is the 2 parents talking about their child struggling with drugs.  Or maybe it is you, the addict.  The one who cries themselves to sleep, the one who shuts all light out because the darkness feels comfortable.   Anyway we flip it, from the seemingly light addict to the heavy enraptured addict, this “compulsive engagement” is quite literally all around us because, it is in each of us.   Addiction is a state characterized by compulsive engagement in rewarding stimuli, despite adverse consequences.(Wiki)

We all have suffered from some sort of addictive behavior.  Many are addicted to chocolate, caffeine, love, football, sweets, yoga or more damaging, drugs and/or alcohol.  Some obviously are more severe than others and yet it still carries with it the same control over us, or lack of control to abstain. 

3 reasons Addiction is usually perceived as negative:


Addiction presents a loss of control of the individual.  Many addicts “know” what is good, what they need to abstain from, and yet….somehow the reward of the “chosen stimuli” is all worth it.  Worth what? The feeling, or the lack thereof.


The consequences of many addicts behavior results in consequences that are unfavorable.  Drugs and alcohol for instance make it almost impossible to hold onto a job.  Even the light diet coke addict will alter the plans of the day to MAKE it happen.  The feeling drives, motivates and inspires every move in life.


Addicts feel shame and guilt.  The saying holds true that we are our own worst critic, addicts are no different.  An addict is hyper-sensitive and thus usually detests begins around people.  They fly into an outrage of victim like behavior pouncing on the words of anyone in their direct path attempts to use as reasoning.  Family, friends, jobs and consistency in life slip away as the addict falls deeper and deeper into their own living hell.

3 ways to cope with an addict

  1. Work on you.

You may have heard the saying that goes like this, as soon as you fix yourself, the situation will be fixed. It could not be truer than in this circumstance.  When we look at others as addicts that need “fixed” we force our own judgement onto them.  We take what society says is good and bad and push it onto them with our words, tone, and actions.  As a personal trainer I am faced with clients who display Reciprocal Behavior (I did myself as a child).  This is a behavior that is basically rebellion.  Mom says to her High School daughter (who is seemingly gaining weight) “Oh you are just going to eat that one bowl of cereal, right?” To which the daughter decides to then eat 3!

All we can control in life is our own self. The problem is only a problem simply because of what it does inside us. Hold here. Did you get that?  Think about it.  Your daughter is getting horrible grades in high school. You are on her like a hawk watching her every move. She knows this, she plays you, and she uses how much you care about her (and her grades) as ammo in all she does.  What would happen if you were able to let go? What would happen if you let her fail? What would happen if you believed in her and let her know that if she succeeds in school, it will be because of her. If she fails in school it will be because of her.

  1. Control

If you know someone who is an addict, which is now believed by many to be a disease, and you are struggling with their choices you need to let go of control.  The father who will not allow his daughter to go into a “dirty” rehab because she is too good for that is the exact point of no return.  This is difficult because there is a fine line. We want to help and we want to reach out, and yet with addicts we must understand that any grey area is area which is working for them, in their favor.  When we control any and all situations with an addict we tell the addict, you are too stupid to do this yourself, so I will do it all for you.

If you are involved with an addict you must go to the mirror and look at the face staring back at you.  What are you doing that is playing into the hands of the addict?  What are you getting out of the relationship? Are you feeling empowered by it?  Do you love helping someone who is helpless? What are you doing that is contributing to the addict’s behavior? Once again, the parent who pays for everything and makes everything ok with money is the enabler.  The husband who gives his wife a little more to drink today because she is having withdrawals and he wants to get her to a place where she can accept help (albeit drunk) is the enabler.  The sister, who just listens over and over to the seemingly horrendous life her sister has been dealt, is the enabler.  Are you the enabler.

     3.  Believe

What would it take for us to believe in the addict?  What would it take to have faith that this is their path?  What would it take for us to understand the impact this situation has had in our lives and how it has shaped our very own?  Find the peace, find the understanding and believe that this, just like everything in life, happens for a reason. Find the grace to accept it.

We are all addicts.  We all have the drives in us that pushes us, some people call it passion, some driven, some simply call them addictions.  What if instead of thinking of others as addicts and us as passionate people we believed that we all have this tendency. That we all have desires that push us to places beyond limits we know and trust. What if instead of negativity, we chose to be addicted to positive things such as love, yoga, relationships, people, passion, good, and light. What if we are all addicts in some way?

What if instead of drawing a line in the sand the lines began to blur.  What if we started stepping over the lines and began jumping and playing.  What if the beach, as far as the eye could see, was an entire landscape of blurred lines?  Body, feet and hand prints that rise and fall together, creating an entire beach of unity, love, acceptance and growth. 


Coping with an addict in our lives does not make us stronger or better.  The addict in our life is there to teach us, just as much as they are being taught.  What if the reason the “addict” is in our lives is to teach us one very important lesson that we all have free agency and with that comes challenges and trials.  When my daughter falls off her bike I cannot catch her. There will be times she will feel the bumps and bruises of her agency.  So is it with addicts and life, those bumps and bruises when felt (and not prevented and enabled – usually by loved ones) are the greatest lessons the consequences our choices have to offer.  Would you that life was perfect? Would you change the force of gravity and take the pain away?  Would you prevent your daughter from riding a bike? Would you prevent the natural consequences of her actions not befall her?

By allowing our self to take a breath and step back we allow those we love to feel the bumps and bruises of life.  We allow lessons to be learned, thoughts to be worked out, negative belies about life and self to surface.  As we find stillness we allow consciousness and awareness to pervade our life and the addicts. Coming to this place is not easy; I assist many as an Energy Work Practitioner in this realm, it is possible.  I have come to understand that it is not you and I who fix.  Many times the behavior is a coping mechanism for the person because of a traumatic event, a child hood experience or a generation issue.

Resolving this issue is about 4 things:

1-Recognize what triggered the behavior (most likely not what we think)

2-Acknowldeging that experience or situation or feeling

3- Feeling everything that needs to be felt surrounding the experience or situation

4-Letting go

By taking clients through this process I have seen amazing life altering changes that could have never been done alone, simply because many of do not have the tools. Allowing this release and moving on is powerful and life changing. The key is not to help those we love get to a place where they are ready and wanting to change, but to allow them the opportunity to recognize, acknowledge, feel and let go.  By doing this they themselves will come to the place of love and acceptance of one very important person, themselves. From here, anything is possible.  From here the journey can begin again.  From here the path before leads to the present and now a path can be seen into the future.  From here change and desire happen.  From here no one has cured the addict; the addict has been given the tools to cure themselves.



Andrea B. Riggs



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