Letting Go of An Addict | Allan Kehler


One of the most heart-wrenching situations

anyone can experience is watching a loved one

struggle with addictions


You are forced to have front row seats to a horrific show where you watch that individual deteriorate in front of your eyes. In these times, it can be easy to feel both helpless and resentful towards this person who is now becoming a shadow of the person you once knew.

Previous attempts to approach this individual likely resulted in their denial or piercing words of anger. Eventually, after exhaustive attempts to help them, one fact will stand out like black on white. In life, all that we can control is self.

Al-Anon, a program created for people who have loved ones struggling with alcoholism, reinforces this idea of control in the 1st of its 3 C’s.

1. You can’t control an addict

2. You cannot cure an addict

3. You didn’t cause the addiction

Similar to the expression, “You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink”, there is only so much that you can do for someone who is struggling with an addiction.

If the individual is not ready or willing to change,

their life of self-destruction will continue.

Rather than focusing on the individual’s behaviours, I would encourage you to shift the focus back to yourself. If you find that you are constantly feeling worried, angry or resentful towards that person, then it is time to turn away from the chaos and take back control.

Reflect on your own needs, and establish appropriate boundaries that will protect those particular needs. Ask yourself, “What role are you willing to play in their life?”

Sometimes the act of creating space can feel like abandonment. And while the individual will neither understand nor respect your need for space, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that you know what you need.

Faith, hope, and love can remain from a far.

I will ask you this…

If someone had intervened too soon in my own battle with addictions, would I have learned what I needed to learn?

Your loved one has their journey,
and you have yours.

When you truly understand that all we can control in this world is self, you will immediately be in a position of power and control.



* For additional information

feel free to check out Allan’s book:


“What’s stronger than a broken man who has the courage to rebuild himself? It’s time to redefine what it means to be strong.”

- Allan Kehler