Addiction is a complicated disease that doesn’t discriminate based on race, class, education, or age. Before drug addiction plagued my family, it was something I didn’t quite understand. I knew alcohol and tobacco were addictive. I even had heard of addictive personality traits and addictions to activities like gambling or shopping. But the drug addiction of today is an epidemic that isn’t getting better. Depending on the substance a person is addicted to, detox can be dangerous, and treatment and recovery can be near-impossible. I recently lost my big brother to heroin addiction. It is through that loss, and helping another family member through the same addiction, that I have realized just how difficult it is to love a person suffering from addiction.
Maintaining a relationship with an addict is challenging and frustrating. Loving someone unconditionally does not mean you have to love their disease. It does not mean you have to condone their habit. It does not mean you have to pick up their messes. Here are some ways I have learned to focus on the relationship while also recognizing the addiction. If you are struggling to maintain a relationship with your child’s birth parent because they suffer from addiction, hopefully these tips will help you.