Hollywood movies and television shows about addiction often have happy endings. Couples reunite. Children forge tighter relationships with their parents and vice versa. Friends remain closer than ever after going through some “tough love.” However, real life sometimes means making difficult choices, especially if you’ve been in a relationship with an addict. This includes learning how to let go of an addict in a kind yet appropriate way.

What Does It Mean to “Let Go”?

When we talk about “letting go” of someone addicted to a substance like methamphetamines or alcohol, we mean physically separating yourself from the person. Typically, people interested in knowing how to let go of an alcoholic or addict have spent years trying to be supportive. As a result, they may be emotionally worn down and maybe even financially unstable. Yet they may also feel guilty because they only want to stop being controlled by the addict.

If you can relate to this situation, you may feel various emotions, from anger to desperation. Just know that saying goodbye to an addict who refuses to get help or keeps relapsing doesn’t make you a bad person. You’re entitled to live a fulfilling life. Occasionally, that might mean letting go of someone close to you, like a parent, sibling, or child.

Advice for Parents of Addicts Who Are Tired of Supporting Their Addicted Children

As you can imagine, it can be especially heartbreaking and confusing for parents to want to avoid the children they raised. Below are some tips designed to offer help for parents of addicts. However, these tips can also be applied in other unhealthy addiction-related relationships.

1. Get help for yourself.

You will be very sensitive and vulnerable when letting go of your addicted child. Attending one-on-one or group therapy sessions designed for family and friends of addicts can be invaluable. There, you’ll meet other people who have been through the same decision-making process you’re now considering. You will not only be able to ask questions, but you’ll get real-world advice. Plus, you’ll feel more validated moving forward.

2. Learn how to emotionally detach.

Emotional detachment can be an involved process and won’t happen overnight. For instance, you may be raging mad at your addicted child or partner today but just feel more sad and helpless tomorrow. Getting through the emotional detachment period takes resolve and patience. The more skills you have about how to sit with your discomfort while moving ahead with your plans, the better.

3. Plan a safe letting-go strategy.

An addict may become violent if you say you’re no longer going to support them. You need to design a health plan that will allow you to tell the addict you’re letting go. This could be done as an intervention led by a professional trained to help everyone stay calm. However, just know that when you say you’re letting go, you must mean it. If you keep coming back to the addict, the addict will only gain more power and control. Yes, slip-ups can happen. Ideally, though, you should stay the course.

4. Surround yourself with support.

Some people may accuse you of turning your back on your child or loved one when you let go. Those people don’t understand your position, though. Be certain to surround yourself with supportive individuals who will be in your corner and respect your choices.

Letting Go Doesn’t Mean What an Addict Might Assume

The addict you love is unlikely to respond positively to you leaving or letting go. Nevertheless, know in your heart that you’re not doing anything wrong. You’re giving the addict another reason to get help through a recovery and treatment center like the Blanchard Institute. It’s like the adage that addicts must hit “rock bottom” before taking steps toward sobriety. Your letting go could be the “rock bottom” the addict in your life needs to reach a place of recovery.

To learn more about the Blanchard Institute and its many programs and resources for addicts and their families and friends, please contact our caring, compassionate team. We aim for everyone in addiction to have access to the necessary tools and opportunities to achieve a higher degree of wellness.