By watching my dysfunctional alcoholic parents, I had become familiar with unacceptable behavior. I chose men that were alcoholics and batterers. My last lover was an addict. When we met, all of my friends were afraid for me, and even her friends told me that she was a hopeless addict. When confronted, the addict cried and told me that with the love and help of the right person, the habit could be controlled. I loved the addict and wanted to help; I was hooked.

The addict and her teenage daughter moved in with me a month later. I remember thinking that all they needed was a safe place to be without stress. I felt that she was the one. I remember thinking that we could save each other, and it was us against the world. The honeymoon lasted about three months.

When I joined Nar-Anon, I was trying to control everything while the addict was doing more drugs, and the daughter hated us for being together. I had hit my bottom. I sat in the meetings and slowly learned that I could not save either of them. I learned that in order to love another person, I have to love myself first; that the only adult I can take care of is me.

I also learned that people from dysfunctional families bring others into their lives that make them feel as they did in their families of origin. And it did feel like home: the love-hate relationship, the feeling of disgust, pity, and shame. I worked the Nar-Anon program and went into counseling, learning to keep the focus on myself. I became ready to leave the relationship two times, and both times the addict went into a recovery program, only to be thrown out a few months later. I was amazed at how slippery those situations were for me, and how easily I let myself be manipulated.

Thought for Today: I see how I joined in the dance every step of the way, preventing the addict from hitting bottom. I will keep the focus on me and keep going to my meetings, and work on my recovery.

“People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. When you figure out which it is, you’ll know exactly what to do.” ~ Michelle Ventor