Don’t Look for Logic Where There Is None
It is extremely important not to be judgmental toward an addict and worsen the stigma around them. Addicts struggle with self esteem enough as it is without people giving them more reason to dislike themselves. However, this does not mean that there is anything to condone about addiction. It is an inherently unhealthy behavior that can lead to consequences as serious as death. It is possible to take compassion for an addict to an unhealthy place by participating in their addiction, which is at the opposite end of the spectrum from judging them. Sometimes people become too soft toward the addiction and empathize with the addict to an unhealthy extent. This can enable their addiction further and worsen their condition.
While it is important to offer compassion to the addict, it is also important not to imagine that their decision making is by any means logical. You can empathize with an addict up until a certain point, but you also have a responsibility to separate your thinking from theirs so that you can be a positive influence on them. The fact of the matter is, addictive traits are not founded on logic; they are founded on emotion. If you believe there is a logic to search for, you will come up empty-handed. Trying to understand the logic of an addict is like having Stockholm Syndrome. It is inherently unhealthy thinking.
Being understanding of an addict’s struggles while still being firm in not participating in them is a balancing act that requires careful thought and execution. It may pain you to tell someone you care about that you want no part of their unhealthy behavior, but mental health and addiction specialists agree that it is the best way to help them toward recovery. Do not let them think that their addiction is safe with you. Instead, help them understand that they are safe with you, so that when they are ready to work toward their recovery, they will know they can come to you.