Addiction affects more than just the addict. In fact, an individual’s addiction ripples through the lives of almost everyone with whom he or she has contact, oftentimes causing profound devastation. The close friends and family members of an addict will at times feel ashamed, frustrated, helpless, angry, and afraid. It’s no easy feat to remain patient with and supportive of someone suffering from addiction, but it’s essential to their eventual recovery that loved ones maintain a positive, encouraging presence throughout their journey of addiction and recovery. If you know someone suffering from addiction, here are some tips on helping addicted loved one:
1. Addiction Education
When helping an addicted loved one, it’s crucial to become educated on the subject of addiction. Despite the stigma that addicts are simply weak-willed, selfish, or self-destructive, addiction is actually a disease that’s not unlike diabetes and other chronic afflictions. What’s more, the disease of addiction has many psychological effects that often render an addict unable to control their impulses and behaviors, allowing the disease to continue to progress until it eventually costs the individual his or her life.
In order to promote better understanding and communication between an addict and their loved ones, it’s essential that all parties learn about addiction. Helping an addicted loved one depends on open lines of communication and mutual understanding. This means that the addict him or herself should also be educated on the nature of addiction as well. What’s more, learning about the nature of this condition shows an addict your concern and that you’re seeking the facts, making an effort to find answers and uncover pertinent helpful information.
2. Accept the Situation
When you are helping an addicted loved one, it’s important to accept the situation for what it is. Trying to tell yourself that it’s a phase or explain it away as harmless experimentation is a huge injustice to your suffering loved one and will simply enable the situation to become much worse than it already is.
Hold them accountable for their actions rather than trying to explain or justify them, especially if their substance abuse has directly affected others’ lives in a negative way. This also means recognizing that addiction isn’t a problem that isn’t going to solve itself or go away on its own.
Addiction is a primary disease from which it usually requires professional help in order to recover. Accepting the severity of a loved one’s problem allows you to begin identifying the appropriate courses of action necessary, which will depend on things like the individual, the substance of their addiction, and the severity of their disease.
3. Don’t Enable
Most addicts have enablers. Enablers assist an addict, either intentionally or incidentally, in continuing their substance abuse and will often act as a buffer between an addict and the consequences of his or her addiction. It’s important to provide support for an addict without encouraging their addictive behavior.
Many times the loved ones of addicts will pay rent or for court fees, buy them groceries, and provide for other things, but in a sense, this help is actually prolonging the addiction. However, while you don’t want to encourage the behavior, it’s also important not to point the finger of blame, make accusations, or to express aggression or resentment toward an addict.When it comes to helping an addicted loved one, enabling is not the answer.
4. Take Care of Yourself
Before you can take care of others, you must first take care of yourself. Many have said that this saying expresses selfishness, but the fact of the matter is that a person in poor shape is incapable of helping an addicted loved one, or anyone at all. While there are practical reasons for this, taking some time to ensure your own needs are met prevents you from experiencing additional hardship; letting too many things fall by the wayside while devoting yourself to the recovery of your loved one might cause resentment or further strain the relationship.
There are certain basic things that all people need in order to maintain health. We all need to eat healthy meals, get plenty of sleep each night, and exercise regularly. Additionally, we all need some level of socialization and to have some fun or do something enjoyable now and then in order to blow off some steam. Addiction can cause many difficulties in the lives of both addicts and their loved ones, so taking some time for yourself to make sure that your most basic needs are met will make you better able to help your loved one who suffers from addiction.
5. Seek Professional Help
For both addicts and the loved ones of addicts, there’s a variety of professional support options available that can provide physical, mental, and emotional support through this very difficult time. Helping an addicted loved one is a top priority, and it’s important you weigh all of the options available to you. If you have a loved one who suffers from addiction, it’s a good idea to suggest local 12-step support groups such as
If you have a loved one who suffers from addiction, it’s a good idea to suggest local 12-step support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Another great aspect of these 12-step groups is that they often welcome the friends and family members of addicts, providing a network of support for individuals who have witnessed a loved one battle with addiction to alcohol or drugs.
There are also professional counselors who specialize in addiction, providing counseling sessions to addicts and families that are dealing or have dealt with addiction. Counseling can be helping in fostering a greater sense of understanding, enhancing communication, and helping a family to heal from addiction.
The most effective professional treatment for alcohol and drug addiction is for the addict to enter an inpatient or intensive outpatient rehabilitation program at a qualified treatment facility. These programs are designed to provide safe, stable environments where addicts can learn about addiction, identify the roof and triggers of their disease, and acquire the tools to sustain sobriety long-term. If you have a friend, family member, or other loved one who is suffering from addiction, please call Drug Treatment Center Finder Today. Our caring specialists can help your loved one to recover from the disease of addiction and return to a healthy, productive life.