The hardest part of loving an addict is that it “blocks” awareness. All you want to do is help (or cure…) the addict and very often this becomes your sole purpose in life. In doing so we tend to forget ourselves and our own life’s purpose.
Also, helping may turn into a compulsion to control the addict (counting bottles, dumping booze, checking secretly, etc.) And this, of course, is an impossible quest.
It takes time to change such behavior in oneself.
Holidays or family functions for instance can be very difficult events. Especially when the addict is going through a difficult time (relapse, binge drinking or using), and at such times one is even more inclined to help the addict.
My sponsor in al-anon once told me that the greatest sign or proof of love and help is to detach with love. I realize now how true that is. The only change in the addict can come from him- or herself.