Other than dealing with addiction itself, one of the hardest things to do is to help someone get through addiction. It’s human nature to support and help a family member, but addiction can be messy and complex. So, it’s not always easy to help someone with an addiction – but how to help a family member dealing with addiction it is definitely possible.
5Tips On How to Help a Family Member Dealing with Addiction
It’s important to give yourself props for wanting to be there for your family member. Many people today still don’t understand addiction. Some say, “Why don’t you just stop doing drugs?” or, “Just stop drinking so much and you’ll be fine.” Addiction is not that simple. It takes a steady support system and the proper resources to move past it.
1. Learn About Their Addiction: Addiction can take a hold of someone through many things. Whether it be alcoholism, drug abuse, or other types of addiction, there are many different ways someone can struggle with this disease. Not to mention, addiction is different for every person. This is one of the reasons why helping a family member dealing with addiction is so difficult.
The first thing to do when you discover your family member has an addiction is to learn about it. What are they addicted to? How does the addiction affect them? What triggers them to indulge in what they are addicted to? The answers to these questions can help your family member significantly.
2. Never Become an Enabler: When you love someone battling addiction, there can be a fine line between supporting them and enabling them. For example, picking up your partner’s favorite wine after they have had a long day. This is a sweet and caring act for someone whose partner doesn’t struggle with alcoholism.
However, it is a form of enabling when your partner does struggle with alcohol addiction. In this case, you may be showing them that alcohol is an effective coping mechanism they can rely on. For someone with addiction, this only reinforces the craving for alcohol.
Ensuring you never become an enabler is difficult, especially if you haven’t helped someone with addiction before. But, it is well worth educating yourself for the sake of your loved one.
Read case studies and articles that explain the science of addiction. Educate yourself on the best treatments and treatment centers for addiction (if your family member needs one). See if there are any addiction specialists in the area as well. All of these can help you ensure you don’t enable your loved one.
3. Encourage Them to Go for Counseling: One of the best ways to help your loved one is to help them find a counselor that specializes in addiction. No matter how much you read online about addiction, a counselor is likely the best resource for them. Sometimes, it just makes it a safe place to talk about how they are feeling. Addiction is a deep-rooted mental health issue that takes hours of counseling and therapy to combat. So, having a person outside of the family is the best solution.
If you are heavily involved with your family member’s addiction, you may want to attend counseling as well. Your family member’s counselor may want to speak with you about creating a healthy environment for them. Also, you may want to consider seeing a therapist yourself if the addiction causes you to have anxiety or stress.
4. Take Care of Yourself as Well: Helping a family member with addiction is a tough journey. Addiction is not something that disappears overnight, and it can be something your family member deals with for many years. So, it’s important to take care of yourself as well.
You may want to make it your purpose to help them see the end of addiction. The truth is this is a heavy burden to bear. Having a family member dealing with addiction can be emotionally and mentally challenging.
if you are not a professional, it’s very difficult to understand how to help someone through addiction by yourself. With that being said, you need to understand that their addiction is not a product of your love or ability to be a caretaker.
If taking care of your family member becomes too much to handle on your own, consider asking for help. This may be from a therapist or another family member.
5. Caring for a Loved One with Addiction: Being there for someone to help them recover is a selfless act. Unfortunately, not everyone has someone to support them through recovery. But, your family member is already off to a great start with a caring person in their life. When you care for them without enabling and follow the advice of a mental health professional, you are doing everything you can to help them recover.