Addiction is a difficult time not only for the people working their way through their recovery, but for the friends and family who are supporting them as well. If you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol and aren’t sure what you can do to help, don’t allow yourself to be distracted or intimidated by the challenge at hand. It will surely be a hard long road and your help won’t always be wanted or appreciated, but if you’re serious about helping that person you care so much for get through the steps of recovery and make it through successfully, then you need to stay focused and follow a few simple guidelines.
The first step that you’ve got to take in bringing your loved ones through addiction is helping them to realize that there is a problem. Sometimes people know that they’re battling addiction, but won’t start the process of recovery until they’re confronted with it and forced to see the error of their ways. The key is to bring them into the light of their struggle without being too forceful or negative, while still being direct. Drugabuse.com says:
Before you talk to your loved one about treatment options, you need to approach him or her about the drug problem. It’s important that you don’t confront a drug abuser in a way that will cause an argument.
Drug and alcohol abusers often have short tempers and if you confront them while they’re drunk or high then they won’t be thinking clearly. This could lead to more push backs and make your task much more difficult than it needs to be.
Of course, you’re aware that gossiping about friends is a bad thing to do and isn’t how a good friend should act, especially behind somebody’s back, but it can be so easy to slip into these bad habits while a loved one is struggling and you feel the need to vent your fears and frustrations to somebody. It’s okay to speak to people you trust about what you’re feeling, but telling them all of the intimate details of what your friend or family member is going through can cause tension, awkwardness, and some resentment if he or she were to find out.
Refuse To Enable
Those suffering from an addiction can be easily swayed in the early stages of recovery, which is why they’re urged not to go near bars or restaurants that they used to frequent while drinking or using drugs, and to stay away from friends who they used with. Part of your job as a supporting member of their recovery is keeping your own personal habits of those kinds away from them while they’re working on getting better; askmen.com advises:
Don’t become an enabler. Stop agreeing to go to the bar or casino with him. Let him know you’re no longer willing to cover up for his sloppiness or missed work due to hangovers.
As mentioned above, you need to put your foot down when asked to do things that normally you’d do with your friend, but know you shouldn’t. You should also refrain from telling them about the things that you do on your own if they involve triggers that could cause relapse.
Acceptance and Support
Finally, nothing is stronger in the fight against addiction than acceptance and support from family and friends. Addiction can cause hurt, upset feelings, debt, and breaks in family units, and these can make it difficult to support them, but if you’re able to accept what has happened and show them that you’re willing to move forward it will make a big difference in their recovery; bhevolution.org explains:
For people with co-occurring disorders, stress within the family can also contribute to relapses of the mental health disorder, the substance use disorder, or both. Social support, on the other hand, can reduce stress and facilitate coping, which makes everyone feel good.
Help your loved ones feel cared for, and confident in what they’re doing by taking them out somewhere away from their usual haunts, or involving yourself in activities you can do together in a safe home setting.