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In the addiction field, we refer to substance abuse as a “family disease.” While there may be only one addict in the family, the disease has a trickle-down effect, impacting not only the addict’s life, but also the lives of his or her family, friends and loved ones.

These consequences can be characteristically material (say, less money for the family’s food when it’s spent on booze or drunk driving fines) or completely intangible (the drug addict who is less emotionally available for his loved ones). Inevitably, many people in the addict’s life are stuck watching their once-vibrant and spirited loved one spiral into the depths of addiction or alcoholism with seemingly no regard for those who care about them.

Those family members and friends often sit and think, “How could they do this to me and their family? How can they do this to themselves?” As the chances of the addict’s willingness to achieve recovery seem to diminish, it’s easy to slowly but surely start to lose compassion and sympathy. The people the addict needs most understandably develop resentment and fear while their hearts callous to the situation.

Many family members and loved ones of the clients at New Method Wellness substance abuse treatment center, where I serve as clinical director, ask me how they can remain compassionate toward their addicts when they struggle to look them in the eyes. Here’s what I tell them:

To read more find the original article here: How to Have Compassion for an Addict