The Big Heart of the Addicted Person

One thing that people either do not realize or may forget is that the person suffering with an addiction is a person with what I call a big heart. I have many years experience in working with people with addictions. One time in the course of my work I encountered an adolescent who needed to have her parents participate in her recovery program. My team of coworkers, at the time, were people who were both in recovery themselves. They said there was no way I would be able to get that adolescent’s mother in and one of the reasons they cited, was that she was also an alcoholic. I decided to try anyway and the parent agreed to come in to talk with me personally. After I explained to her the importance of her participation for her daughter’s recovery, she agreed to participate (though I am sure it was not easy for her to do so). My Coworkers were both astonished that she had agreed to come. That was when I explained to them that I had never yet met an alcoholic that didn’t have a big heart.


Just what do I mean by a Big Heart? What I mean is someone who is sensitive and caring. Or compassionate. Their sensitivity may often be greater than many other individuals by comparison. In fact it is often their sensitivity that causes them to feel pain at a greater degree than another person over a similar event. This can lead them to desire to escape the pain they may be experiencing by the use of alcohol, drugs, food, gambling, sex, and the list goes on.

What was surprising to me, as I have chronicled in the first paragraph, was that those in recovery themselves, did not realize that the “Big Heart” was a part of the picture of the addicted person. My coworkers did not seem to recognize that they themselves had big caring hearts. Or that this was the case with those with addictions. I believe it is of value to understand this in treating the addictive process and assisting those who desire healing to do so. This piece of information can also be helpful in assisting those who need treatment to find it more easily.

– Patricia, a New Life Network Counselor