Don’t Feel Alone While Coping With A Loved One’s Addiction
Coping with a loved one’s addiction isn’t easy. But, you’re not alone, and there are ways you can help make things better for you and your loved one.
The person who is suffering may be dealing with some significant issues, but it’s ok to feel the hardships it places on you. We want to take the time to talk to you, a family member of an addict, about how to deal with the stress and what you can do to help make the situation better.
You want to help, but how?
When a family member, or close friend, suffers from addiction, one of the hardest parts is feeling as though you can’t help them. The desire to help addicts get better can become very painful when you don’t know what to do to make the situation better.
Where they are at in their life also contributes to the confusion as it can determine what you can be doing to guide them to recovery.
If they understand their situation’s reality, you can help by being encouraging but honest about their problem. You should always focus on building trust and working as a support system while respecting their privacy and personal choices.
While it’s essential to show tough love, you never want to criticize them or abandon them on their road to recovery. You can’t threaten to leave them or punish them for their behavior, and you need to have patience as they progress. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s going to take a lot of work from both you and your loved one.
What if they don’t see a problem?
Individuals don’t always come to terms that they are suffering from substance abuse disorders. They may not only disagree with what you have to say but may become angry or difficult to reach when you bring it to their attention.
So what do you do to help in this situation?
It’s important to remember that you need to come from a place of trust and genuine concern for the person’s well-being. Even if they have hurt you in the past or betrayed your trust, you must find a way to reestablish these bonds.
One thing you must avoid is approaching the situation with malice and anger. You can’t be a pushover, but you shouldn’t be too harsh or call them names. You also don’t want to nag or lecture them. Keep in mind that they again must come to terms with the issue, and you only need to help them.
Be patient and loving. Talk to them about what you are feeling but don’t try and force them to understand it. It takes time, and with the right amount of communication and time, they will come to terms.
How did they turn into an addict?
What can be hard to come to terms with is the development of an addiction. During the conversations you have with a loved one about their problem, it’s not uncommon for an addict to explain that others are in some way responsible for their use of drugs or alcohol.
When this happens, family members may become devastated. But it’s not something you can let hangover you or deter you from trying to help. Even if you agree that you may be partially responsible, you cannot withdraw from them to avoid worsening things. Instead, you should listen to them and find ways you can help them move toward recovery.
The same is true if you disagree with what they have to say. Even if you don’t believe it is true, you can’t become angry and begin to criticize them. Again, you should keep an open mind and search for ways to help them get better
But what if you’re not to blame? What if something outside of the family is what they blame for their struggles with drugs or alcohol?
You can still help them. Of course, you must not take over their problems or try to solve them. However, you should be supportive, encouraging, and offer alternative ways to cope with their issue.
Am I enabling them?
Not solving an addict’s problems for them brings us to the next point. Enabling is something you are doing that you may not be aware of.
To help a person who is struggling or coping with the pain, a loved one may try to cover for them or help them by taking care of the consequences of their actions. You shouldn’t do this. For one, the addict may know you do these things for them and take advantage of it. This only puts more strain on the relationship.
It also hides them from the reality of the problems they are causing. Without facing the consequences of their actions, they may never fully understand the situation’s gravity.
But how do you know if you are enabling them? How do you help without enabling? Here are some pointers.
- Don’t make excuses for them
- Don’t take over their responsibilities
- Don’t save them from consequences
- Don’t use substances with them
- Set boundaries
- Encourage them to enroll In treatment programs
Support groups for families?
Professionals understand that addiction is hard on families, and there are support groups you can visit. Remember that it may be taking a toll on your mental health, and there’s no shame in seeking help from others.
You can also reach out for help before your family member seeks treatment for their addiction. These groups are there to listen to you. They offer advice on helping your family member, not just how to cope with the toll it’s taking on you.
Remember that you are not alone. It can be a crushing feeling, knowing that a loved one is suffering. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t any hope.
With the right level of patients and trustworthy communication, things will get better. That isn’t just true for the addict, though; you’re a person too. And there’s no shame in looking to others for support in hard times.