How can you help someone you love who is struggling with addiction? What part do you play in their recovery? Learning how to help a loved one through addiction recovery is the first step in the right direction. Your knowledge, understanding, thoughts and behavior will all have a direct effect on the outcome. You can positively influence your loved one if you remain strong. Coping with the daily stress and emotional turmoil of addiction can be exhausting. Some days will be more difficult than others, and there is no magic bullet that will instantly change the situation. It will take commitment and perseverance to help you focus on the reality of addiction and what must be done to recover from it. Your loved one is out of control, which means you have to stay in control. Instead of reacting to the circumstances at hand, focus on the goal and work toward that end.
Discerning what is effective and what is destructive will keep you from making dangerous mistakes. It will save you time and energy and give you healthier results. One of the first things to do is set up boundaries between yourself and your loved one. Explain to them why they cannot be allowed to cross over certain boundaries. Be assertive with them and do not waver. Let your “yes” be yes, and your “no” be no.
Put Your Well-being First
Take time to care for yourself holistically. Eat well, get enough rest, stay busy with people and things you enjoy and practice your faith. This will ensure that you stay healthy in body, mind and spirit. Try to encourage your loved one to take care of him or herself also. Don’t do everything for them, but allow them to become self-sufficient. This will take added pressure off of you and will help keep your loved one focused on important and vital things they need in their life. Remember that you can only set an example by your behavior and advice, but you cannot force your loved one to change. By setting boundaries they will know that if they want something to eat, or clean clothes, it is up to them to make it happen. You cannot be there 24/7, catering to their every need and desire.
Don’t Blame and Don’t Enable Your Loved One
Don’t play the name, blame, shame game. Don’t blame your loved one’s addiction for all your problems in life. You also play a role in this relationship, and you must search out what you are doing that adds to the problems. Filling your loved one with shame, grief and remorse may push them in the wrong direction. Many addicts take drugs and alcohol to avoid or escape from physical and psychological pain.
Also, don’t be an enabler. Tough love means you will not give your loved one money or pay their bills for them. It also means that you don’t support them while they sit around all day getting high. You have to let your loved one know that they have to work and pull their own weight. They have to be self-sufficient and not rely on others as a crutch.
If your loved one is constantly complaining to you about their life, tell them that you cannot listen to it anymore. Tell them to seek out the help of a professional therapist who can help them sort things out and make a plan to improve their situation. Complaining accomplishes nothing and just adds to a dark mood. Encourage your loved one to actively seek out answers to life’s problems by talking with people that can help give good advice. Then take the advice and change for the better.
Avoid Pitfalls and Seek Help
Don’t allow your loved one to manipulate you. Learn how to say no. Addicts are great manipulators and will try anything to keep them self from the truth. They will lie, cheat, blame and try to put a guilt-trip on you. Don’t fall for it. Say no and stand your ground. Once your loved one realizes that you mean business and they aren’t going to have it their way, they should stop.
Avoid the pitfalls by keeping yourself and your loved one in check. You can assist your loved one in getting the professional help they need to get well. Sharing in the rehabilitation process and encouraging them along the way will help your loved one immensely. Family therapy and practicing one’s faith together will strengthen your bond and give you both the peace and assurance of a brighter future.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.