It’s incredibly difficult to see someone you love suffering, especially when their suffering is caused by their own actions which they often can’t control. That’s why friends and family of people with addiction issues can find themselves feeling helpless and unsure of what to do.
Addictions are harmful to both the addict and those close to them, so it’s important to try and help them through it. And it’s equally necessary to take proper care of yourself during this time as well. There are many ways to be supportive while also focusing on your own well-being.
Often people who struggle with addiction find it difficult to take the first steps of acknowledging they have a problem and getting help. No one wants to feel shamed or judged by those they love, so how you go about actually helping them get treatment is crucial.
A common method for helping someone accept treatment for addiction is an intervention. This requires the person with an addiction to listen to various people they’re close with about how their substance abuse has affected or hurt them. Interventions should be planned out carefully with all participants on the same page at all times. Schedule a specific place, date, and time for it to take place, and have everyone write down what they’re going to say. Everyone should be completely honest and gentle but firm when speaking. Present your loved one with one or multiple treatment options and come up with a plan for what to do if the person refuses treatment. It can be a lot to organize, so consider seeking help from a counselor or intervention specialist.
Before any intervention takes place, it’s important to research different treatment options. These can include working with a doctor or addiction specialist, taking medication proven to help treat addiction, and staying at a rehabilitation facility for addiction recovery. Rehab facilities are a common choice as they remove the addicted patient from any outside temptation by placing them in a completely regulated and monitored environment. Places like the Cornerstone Healing Center can help treat all kinds of substance addictions and also help patients reacclimate to a sober life.
Remember that no matter how delicately you confront your loved one about seeking help, there’s a very real possibility that they might lash out or act as though they’re being attacked. As difficult as it might be, try not to take it personally. Keep in mind that addictive substances can often alter people’s moods and even personalities, and also remember that your loved one is probably just trying to protect themselves as they are dependent on this substance and likely afraid of giving it up.
There are many ways you can support your loved one during their treatment, from taking a more active role in their recovery to simply being there for support. You want to be there for them as much as you can without accidentally hindering their recovery at all.
For many people who have loved ones with addictions, it can be easy to enable their substance abuse, even if it’s completely unintentional. One may give in to certain pleas or demands from an addicted loved one or minimize the severity of their addiction due to the difficulty of seeing them in such a desperate or painful situation. But it’s important to remember that being firm, honest, and refusing to give in to the illness will be the best thing for them in the long run. They may be combative or resistant at the moment, but standing your ground is necessary for their recovery.
Try to be as encouraging and supportive as you can, especially during your loved one’s actual treatment. They will have bad days and difficult obstacles to get through, and they may struggle with things like withdrawal, so be there for them when they need you. Simple reminders that they’re strong and that you’re proud of them can go a long way to keep them focused and motivated.
Focus On You
It’s important during this difficult time that you take care of yourself as well. Addiction can be draining for everyone affected, not just the person who’s addicted. Make sure you’re practicing self-care and keeping your physical and mental health in check so you’re able to be there for your loved one.
Never feel guilty or selfish for taking some time for yourself. It may feel like all of your focus should be on the person recovering, but that’s far from the truth. You’re going through recovery as well, just in a different way. After their treatment, your loved one will be happy that you took care of yourself and didn’t suffer for their sake.
Try to keep track of your mental state and make sure you don’t get too overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed. You should strongly consider speaking with a therapist during this process. There are plenty of resources to help the family and friends of addiction patients cope with any difficulties and emotional stress. Don’t let yourself be weighed down to the point of hopelessness and seek help when you need it.
You may have to make difficult decisions if things don’t go as planned. Not every addict is willing to accept help or go through treatment, so prepare yourself for the possibility of your loved one rejecting any attempts to help them recover. If they do reject any sort of treatment, you need to seriously consider changes to your relationship, meaning distancing yourself or even cutting ties entirely. It may be difficult to do, but if the issues caused by this addiction are only going to continue and progress, it’s probably what’s best for you.
Addiction is extremely hard on both the addict and those close to them, and while recovery can be difficult, it is possible for things to get better. Help your loved one in this trying period of their life, but remember to focus on yourself too.