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How to Help an Addicted Loved One

Watching someone you love suffer from the effects of addiction is heartbreaking, and can take a toll on the strongest person. It is especially tricky if it is someone close to you like a mother, father or child.

Even without wanting to, an addict will draw you into their life and lifestyle, because you’re constantly worrying about them. It is therefore vital that family and friends come together to see how to help an addicted loved one.

We will explore some tips below.

Educate yourself about addiction

If you are going to help your loved one, you will have to have an excellent understanding of what it is they’re going through daily.  Taking the time to educate yourself is, therefore, the first step you have to consider.  It means learning about what addiction is, how to avoid relapse, how to live with someone who has an addiction, among other things.

Learning about addiction for caretakers is one of the things that rehabilitation institutions insist on. Family members, especially primary caregivers, will need to attend some of the sessions with the addict. Assisting an addict in their path to recovery is not an easy one, by educating yourself on addiction; it will be easier for you to offer your loved one a helping hand.

Stage an Intervention

Not every addict has the willpower to seek treatment on their own.  Sometimes, family members need to come together and stage an Intervention. The intervention process will require that you look for a treatment facility or a therapist who can start them on the journey to recovery.

Do not under any condition offer them money; instead, offer to pay for their sessions.  Remember one of the side effects of addiction is their inability to keep a steady source of income. The result is that any money they lay their hands on will go towards funding their drug of choice.

With that said, you cannot force an addict to go for treatment. The addict has to show a willingness to go through the treatment process otherwise, they will relapse. If the addict agrees to attend the sessions, make sure someone from the family accompanies them. Attending the sessions together will give you some important coping skills.

Be watchful of how you communicate.

Dealing with an addict is not a simple task because you can expect a lot of push back anytime you mention that they may need help.  Trying to understand why the addict does not see a problem with his or her behavior can lead to frustration, which could project how you communicate.

Be careful that you do not sound like you are lecturing, nagging all criticizing. In the same breath, do not make it easy for the addict to get away with the negative behavior by being so careful about how you talk to them. Addicts know how to manipulate people, and so you need to learn how to strike a balance in how you speak to them.  Do not be too hard on them, but do not be a pushover either.

 Take care of yourself

Dealing with an addicted loved one will have a mental, physical and emotional impact on you.   You, therefore, have to take good care of yourself and know when you need to disengage when it gets too much.  Be watchful that you do not start to take on some of the behavior, for instance, drinking a bit more as a coping system.

Make sure that you have a sound support system, whether from other family members or even joining groups for people who are helping a loved one on the path to recovery.

Taking care of yourself also means learning how to say no to an addict.  Due to their ability to manipulate situations, they will take you through a lot of stress with their requests. One of the most significant challenges most caregivers have is they invariably end up enabling the addict.   If you find that you are lying to other family members about the addict’s real condition, or are giving them money to support their habits, then you need to take a step back. Having boundaries does not mean that you love them any less.

Final thoughts

Adverse effects of addiction do not only impact on the addict, but to those closest to them as well.  Taking care of an addict, therefore, requires that as a caregiver you take good care of yourself and educate yourself as much as possible on addiction.  It also means drawing the lines and allowing the addicts to see the negative consequences of their actions.

It is not your responsibility to fix the addict; you can only offer your support and understanding. If they are to achieve sobriety, they have to be willing to go through treatment and aftercare. If you have a loved one who is struggling with addiction, reach out to us at Sea Change Recovery today here. We’re standing by for your call.

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