You can love people. You can help them, guide them and care for them when needed. You can listen to them. You can teach them. You can learn from them, but ultimately, when people just want to hurt themselves, you can’t save people from themselves.
If a person is engaged in some type of behavior that is self destructive, than the only person in the world that is going to save them in the end, is themselves. They’ll have to first recognize there is a problem and then make the decision to treat it or find help for it. No one can force them to seek out help they’re not willing to receive.
If you know someone who you love and they’re hurting themselves through any form of self/substance abuse, then it’s perfectly natural to want to save them. To want to help them recover and be happy again. To take away their pain and suffering and make them feel whole again. But all you can do is love them. Sometimes that means helping them get help when they’re finally ready for it and want it more than anything and sometimes it means not enabling them or taking on the responsibility of being their savior.
Because you can’t save people from themselves. You can only support them along the way, as they fight to change their behavior and treat their core issues. If you try to take on the burden and guilt of being someone’s everything, then when you fail to save them, you’ll feel like you’re nothing when you feel like you’ve lost everything and that you should have done more.
It’s not your fault and you did all you could.
It’s ok to love someone who needs help and is hurting. It’s not okay to make their issues your own and make their success/failure with their demons, yours. It’s not, and that’s okay too.