The world of substance abuse is a dark and scary place. Alcohol and drug abuse can affect anyone from anywhere. It doesn’t matter what your age is, how you grew up, what you do for a living, or the balance of your bank account. It is believed that substance abuse is a disease that impacts the lives of people all around you.
But how can you help a loved one suffering from substance abuse? It’s hard to get addicted loved ones to even consider drug rehab, let alone go. Healing is possible when we find ways to help our loved ones and learn about addiction treatment for ourselves.
7 Ways to Help an Addicted Loved One
Accept the situation.
A situation will never change if you do not acknowledge or accept it first. Denial doesn’t help anyone — especially the addict. Accepting and acknowledging your circumstances doesn’t mean you necessarily like them, but rather that you’re willing to admit the reality of where you are to begin making changes. Only by first accepting your situation can it start to change.
Do your research.
Thousands if not millions of studies have been done on addiction and alcoholism, thereby allowing medical experts and the like to determine the devastating effects substance abuse has on the brain, body, and psyche. Studying addiction and alcoholism equips you with tools to understand and recognize the symptoms and warning signs in your loved one, and the best way to respond. Reacting doesn’t benefit anybody, but a preplanned, research-based response will change the course your loved one is on.
Don’t be ashamed or afraid to ask questions. Medical experts understand that substance abuse can affect anyone as it doesn’t discriminate. Addiction treatment centers and drug rehab counselors are there to teach, guide, encourage, and support both you and your loved one through the darkness of this disease, back to the light of the happy and healthy living.
Stop enabling and funding.
Does your loved one live with you? Do you give them money for their living expenses? Stop and ask yourself in what way you enable the addict or alcoholic in your life to continue their lifestyle, and brainstorm different ways you can change the enabling pattern(s). If the situation is complicated, serious, and/or confusing, seek professional guidance. Explore all of your options before making any decisions. The main priority is to keep your addicted loved one safe until they get help, and enabling them to continue their lifestyle doesn’t do that.
Join a support group.
Walking with your addicted loved one through their journey can certainly be exhausting, overwhelming, stressful, and scary. But by joining a support group that consists of other individuals experiencing the same things, you can receive support, advice, ideas, and resources that you might not otherwise get.
Encourage and guide.
The last thing an addict or alcoholic needs to feel is guilt or shame. To counteract this, encourage and guide your loved one. Start to encourage them with something small that will distract them from their use — go for a walk, take a shower, practice yoga, read a book, learn a new hobby, etc. Guide them in the direction they should go for getting healthy — start addiction treatment, join drug rehab, seek counseling, etc.
Don’t give up
It may be cliche, but never give up. Those who give up never win, and those who win never give up. Your loved one may have already given up, and that is why it is so important that you don’t.
Substance abuse is a very serious epidemic in our world today. The World Health Organization (WHO) has developed and launched programs that monitor and address the devastating disease that is substance abuse. WHO reported the following statistics:
Alcohol abuse results in 3.3 million deaths each year.
On average, every person on the planet aged 15 years or older drinks 6.2 liters of alcohol per year.</LI>
Less than half the population (38.3%) actually drinks alcohol, which means that those who do drink consume an average of 17 liters of alcohol per year.
31 million people have drug use disorders.</li>
11 million people inject drugs. Of those 11 million, 1.3 million have HIV, 5.5 million have hepatitis C, and 1 million have both.
Located in Santa Monica, CA, Sea Change Recovery helps men and women alike who suffer from substance abuse and mental health conditions. We approach addiction and health comprehensively by combining psychotherapy, communal learning, 12-steps, and experiential therapies. If you or a loved one suffer from substance abuse, contact us, and we’ll help you begin to spend a lifetime pursuing health, self-respect, and principle-based living.