When it comes to addiction, the addict is not the only one impacted. The unpredictable behavior of addicts results in financial hardship, legal challenges, and the stress of daily support for family members and friends. While recovery from addiction can be challenging, the chances of success are better if you are there to support your loved one.
Here’s how to help a drug addict friend or loved one battling with addiction. Although every case and situation is unique, here are some general tips that can help.
Don’t Live In Denial
There is a possibility of denial for the addict as well as for the family and friends around them. The likelihood of harm increases when people put off actions and conversations. This can lead to the loss of early healing opportunities and to physical, emotional and psychological harm.
Educate Yourself First
Learn more about addictions. Find out how addiction develops. Learn about health-related and psychological risks associated with addiction, from brain damage from drugs to relapses. Read about how addiction affects family members and friends. You may gain a greater comprehension of your loved ones and their struggles when you have knowledge. Several resources are available to assist you like Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
Identify Treatment Approach That Works
To find an effective treatment option, it is necessary to look at a variety of options. Decide what is the best approach for them based on their needs.
Depending on the nature of addiction, medication, psychotherapy, support groups, or a combination of these are possible approaches in treating addictions. Some of these are:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Community Reinforcement and Family Training (CRAFT)
- Online therapy
- Support groups, etc.
Building A Trusting Relationship & Healthy Environment
Despite your best intentions, trust can be easily undermined. You may be trying to help them, but they may perceive you as controlling them. Addicts can use these feelings as fuel to continue abusing substances. Their addictive behaviour may increase under a stressful atmosphere at home. Be prepared for such conversations and difference of opinions.
Your patience and cooperation can be crucial in the recovery journey. Establishing trust, however, is a two-way process. Don’t tolerate unwanted behavior to establish trust.
It may be hard for you not to express your feelings about the problems the addiction caused. Ultimately, the decision to change is theirs. When you communicate honestly, without being intimidating, they are more likely to open up to thinking about change. Communicate your feelings, needs, and boundaries.
Transformation is not going to be easy, but having those bad habits still around will make things even harder regardless of how indirect or unintentional that support might be. Defining your boundaries and being honest about what you won’t tolerate is crucial.
Keep Realistic Expectations
Addicts shouldn’t be lectured or shouted at. It is unlikely that they will understand what you are saying. Make sure that they understand what is expected of them and provide assistance to find the treatment that they require.
It is unrealistic to expect addicts to keep their promises.They might perceive it as unnecessary pressure. Don’t crush their morale by expressing anger or frustration. By doing these, you will maintain a good relationship with them.
Avoid Enabling Behavior
Families often support their addicted loved one without realizing what they are doing. Don’t rescue the addict. Allow them to bear the consequences of their habits. A person can sometimes only change when they recognize the damage.
Enabling involves safeguarding them from the downside effects of their substance abuse. Taking care of their finances, basic needs, and other responsibilities may seem as if it’s the right thing to do, but it could delay their recovery. Recognize the distinction between supportive behavior and enabling.
Don’t Forget Yourself
Assisting the addict begins with focusing on your own life. Strain caused by their problems, in addition to your own, causes stress and resentment.
- Get plenty of sleep
- Socialize and get support
Things To Remember
- While you move forward with treatment, respect their privacy.
- Remind yourself that your goal for them is to aid their recovery, not to force them to prioritize your goals.
- You may seek assistance and help from professional/treatment centres if your loved one is rigid, resistant and has, so far, blocked your attempts to connect them.
Lastly, here’s a reminder that you’re not alone. Millions of families battle with addiction-related issues every day. Don’t hesitate to seek the resources and support you need; it’s vital.