Helping a loved one dealing with an alcohol or drug addiction is an often long and heartbreaking journey. Naturally, you want to help that friend or relative, but you won’t always know how to do so. At times, you might feel so overwhelmed that ignoring the situation can seem like a good solution. However, sweeping the problem under the rug is more damaging, both for you and person you worry about. With that in mind, here are 6 ways for loved ones of addicts to provide help, including continual support.
Stop enabling bad behavior
When addiction takes hold, it’s often very difficult for friends and family. Often, loved ones enable the person’s addiction without even realizing what they’re doing.
When you rescue an addict, you prevent them from seeing the consequences of their actions. Unfortunately, doing so allows them to live in the bliss of ignorance. People often don’t change until they’re forced to, so stop supporting their addiction as it’s not helpful to them.
Learn more about addiction
Unless you know what your loved one is dealing with, it’s very difficult to help them. For this reason, you must learn more about the addiction in question.
Also look into the symptoms to watch for. If your loved one is dealing with a cocaine addiction, for example, then learn to recognize signs of cocaine use. Addiction is complex, so it’s fine if you don’t know everything yet.
Offer your ongoing support
People with addictions don’t always understand how much their friends and family love them. They try to push people away and always believe that they’ve succeeded.
That is why you must speak about your concerns and offer support. Don’t wait until your loved one has hit rock bottom before you speak up. Instead, ensure they know you’re always going to be there for them.
Encourage going into treatment
Like with other diseases, addiction is best treated when treated early. Sadly, many people with addictions don’t realize they have a problem until it’s too late.
Thus, be persistent about the importance of professional treatment. If necessary, hold an intervention for your loved one. This step is difficult to do, but might be just what your loved one needs to get assistance.
Have a realistic outlook
When someone with an addiction makes a promise, you must always take it with a pinch of salt. There are going to be setbacks in their recovery, which is sure to be upsetting for everyone.
However, you shouldn’t react to these setbacks with anger or pity. This type of response can harm the relationship you share, making recovering even harder. It’s important that everyone is positive but realistic.
Take care of yourself
Helping someone dealing with an addiction is physically, mentally, and emotionally draining. If you were always to focus on your loved one, you would eventually burn out. While it might seem selfish, you must focus on your own life first. Try to get plenty of sleep, eat three healthy meals, and exercise every day. The better you feel, the better you can help the person you love.
Hopefully, with the advice above, you can help your loved one recover from their addiction.
6 thoughts on “Loved ones of addicts: How can you help?”
If your loved one is an addict, you should encourage them to seek help. Thanks for sharing such an informative post. :)
Great advice and hopefully family and friends are able to provide support. The key to a good start is the individual with addictions need to be willing to seek help.
For me when I faced the demon I was alone and living in the far north. At the time there was little help available such as we have today. It is still a battle they must face. I suppose I am a bit of a success story as of Oct it will be 44 years I have been living sober without the use of drugs and alcohol.
It always amazes me the people God places into my life who are struggling and I am able to pass along encouragement and support as best I know how and that is from front line experience on just how quickly addictions can change your life. We all need a little help sooner or later in life and I consider it my way of being so thankful for the freedom I have today and giving a little back.
Hugs as always
44 years sober, that is a huge accomplishment Rolly! Especially as you say with the fewer resources back then. You are a great example of sobriety and I appreciate your comment here, my friend.
Very good advice, Christy :-)
Thank you for appreciating this tough topic, Irene.