Once addiction has got a good hold on you, it doesn’t stop there; it looks for others it can infect with madness. In you, it has established a home base from which it can make forays into others, as if its whole purpose is to spread evil, corruption, and despair.
Addiction is not satisfied with just screwing you up. It wants to cause disrespect for law, populate prisons, murder thousands, destroy neighborhoods, corrupt nations, and fund terrorists. It also wants to drive your wife, husband, partner, father, mother, sister, and brother crazy. It especially wants to get to your children because then it can get started on a whole new generation.
Addiction can be so tricky that, as it spreads, it changes form. It’s a shapeshifter. The particular addiction you’re prone to: alcoholism, drug use, gambling, sex, eating, rage, whatever; once it leaves you, lights on another and infects them in a manner peculiar to them. Everyone has their thing, the particular way the wheels come off. Some get attached to substances or behaviors as you did. Others fall prey to depression, anxiety, and psychosis. Most simply loose themselves. They get so wrapped up in dealing with your shit, that they forget their own. They fail to take care of themselves because they’re trying to save you from addiction. When they fail to take care of themselves, things simply break down in the same way your car will break down if you never changed the oil.
If you have people in your life who still love you despite what the addiction has done, you’re lucky. Do them a favor by battling the addiction before it gets to them. Warn them that trouble is coming and band together for your mutual defense.
If you’ve gotten treatment for addiction, gone to rehab, seen a counselor, attended AA, been on Suboxone, or whatever, you have probably gotten ten times more help than the people who deal with you. As inaccessible as treatment is, it’s worse for your loved ones, yet they are subject to the same madness you are.
If you have benefited from treatment and are far down the road of an authentic recovery, you may well be ahead of them. Some of the most psychologically sophisticated, insightful, and mature people I know are in recovery from addiction. Addiction takes you to a dark place where you confront your demons. You may think you have defeated those demons, but they have only migrated over to your partner, who is now more vulnerable, from which they can take another shot at you.