What It's Like to Love an Addict: 6 Stories of Hope, Loss, and Transition

When asked by one of the women below what prompted this piece, I realized so much of our content (my personal pieces, specifically) delves into the thoughts and struggles that we, ourselves, have gone through—and, ideally, how we've come out the other end. More recently, we've written about our current struggles as well, ones that we haven't necessarily worked out entirely. But what we haven't yet gotten into is how those things have affected our loved ones. We're often polarized enough by our own problems to forget they influence the lives of those close to us—but they do.

So, I sought to hear from the family members, partners, and friends of those who suffer from addiction. That can mean anything from alcohol, drugs, and sex to gambling or an eating disorder. (Ed. note: Some professionals have suggested anorexia is an addiction just like substance abuse. "The patterns common to both include: loss of control, preoccupation with the abused substance, use of the substance to cope with stress and negative feelings, secrecy, and maintenance of the behavior despite harmful consequences," says Karin Jasper, PhD. In my case, the abused substance was food, or lack thereof.)

Here, we hear from six people on how they've experienced eating disorders as well as alcohol and drug abuse by proxy. Read their thoughtful words below.

If you are struggling with addiction and are in need of support, call the SAMHSA National Helpline at (800) 662-4357. If you are feeling symptoms of depression, talk to your doctor to learn more about treatment options.