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Everyone needs love and we do not get to decide who we love. If we love someone who battles with an addiction or has battled with an addiction we need to understand exactly what that entails.

Addiction comes in many forms and is not always drug related. People can be addicted to anything from alcohol to eating pizza every single day. (Really you can be addicted to almost anything.) Some addictions will be extreme to the point where you cannot fathom how it could ever be this bad while others may not even be noticeable. However, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be aware. These are the things you need to know about loving a former addict.

1. You cannot change them.

Change is something that they have to do for themselves, not for you. They will not stop their addictive behaviors for you, no matter how hard you try. It does not work that way.

2. It will not be easy.

There will be good days and bad days. Sometimes things will feel like more than you can handle and you should not feel bad for it. This is something that can be overwhelming depending on how long it has been.

3. Just because they shut down does not mean you are getting shut out.

Sometimes personal space is needed, don’t overreact to everything. Just because your partner won’t talk to you or anyone for a few hours or even a day doesn’t mean you’re hitting a hard spot in the relationship. It just means your partner needs some time alone.

4. Apologies and promises are very different.

Just because someone says they are sorry for their actions does not mean they will stop.

5. Don’t shove your ideals down their throat.

Shaming them and trying to force them into programs is not going to help. This comes off as threatening and will get you nowhere. Basic respect is needed when it comes to things like this because, without it, you’re just going to argue and cause more damage.

6. Don’t use ultimatums.

These are not healthy even in relationships that do not involve addicts or former addicts. If you make one what keeps them from doing the same thing?

7. Just because things seem to have improved does not mean that they have.

There are good days and bad days with this as mentioned above.

8. Remember that unless you are a recovering addict as well you really ‘don’t get it.’

9. Don’t be a crutch.

There is a big difference when it comes to being supportive and coddling them. Support them.

10. If things will not change, don’t be afraid to move on.

You can love someone with everything you have and it still boils down to what they want. If the person you love has become toxic leave. You have the right to find happiness even without this person.