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I have been working with a family member now for over a year, who’s loved one is in addiction. Her mental health was suffering as a result.

She couldn’t understand why he could not stop drinking and he was being verbally abusive to her when he was drinking. He continually asked her for money when he had spent all his on drink and made her feel guilty if she did not help him.

She could not do anything and could not enjoy anything as she was always worried about him. Her life revolved around him even though they didn’t live together. She had no time for herself, as all she was focused on was getting him help and making sure he was ok.

We started working with her by encouraging her to put boundaries in place that would help her try and get some of her time and life back.

One of the boundaries was not to answer the phone or let him in her house when he was drunk as this was causing her real distress.

She couldn’t understand why he was like this and why couldn’t he stop, and she always used to say, “if he cared for her, he would not drink anymore”.

We talked about addiction. How it was an illness and how no matter how much she tried to help him, nothing would change unless he wanted to make changes

Through working with her, she began to realise that she had no control over his addiction. That she could not control him. That he was the one responsible for his actions and no matter how many times she would make appointments for him that he didn’t attend, it was because he did not want to.

Going forward, she realised that he was the one who had to make the appointments and responsibility was on him to attend them.

She realised that she can only do so much as its out of her control, but she can be there and help him when he is sober and wanting the help.

She is learning to take one day at a time, trying to get her life back and enjoying the things that she wants to do without worrying about him, and that she is not responsible for his actions only her own.

She regularly attends the family groups to be with other families that are in similar situations. She now knows that she is not the only one going through this and takes strength from the group. She knows that within the group space, she can speak freely about her situation with like-minded people as they all help each other through their own difficulties.