Support for Families Affected by Addiction
How to Help Yourself While Helping a Loved One With Addiction
Dealing with a loved one who has become addicted to drugs or alcohol can take an emotional and psychological toll. It is not easy witnessing someone you love slip into the grip of substance abuse and addiction.
To help navigate these issues, its important to get support for yourself, not just your loved one. Be sure you are taking time for yourself. Many addiction treatment centers, including WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab, offer counselling for families of people in their care. Also groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon conduct meetings all across the globe with the goal of supporting family members of addicts. Additionally, practicing self-care will help you feel grounded and motivated for your addicted friend or family member during this trying time. Self-care can be anything from taking a walk, meditating, or taking part in an enjoyable activity just for you, such as cooking, going to the gym, or any other hobby or activity you find relaxing.
The Impact of Addiction on Families
Families are hit hard by addiction, and the impact can be seen throughout the entire family unit like a domino effect. Addiction is a family disease, as it takes a toll on those closest to the struggling individual. Family therapy is often required to help the whole family learn how to properly manage and cope with the addicted family member. WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab offers family therapy and support for those who have been affected by addiction within the family.
Some of the ways families can be affected by a loved one’s addiction include:
- Financial hardship due to lending money to the addict, or worse, being stolen from
- Unknowingly enabling and reinforcing addictive behavior by providing unnecessary support
- Witnessing long-lasting trauma by seeing their addicted loved one overdose
- Marriages often do not survive one or both partners abusing drugs or alcohol
- Family member’s jobs can be put in jeopardy due to the constant worry about the addict
- Trust between family members is often eroded
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call WhiteSands Alcohol and Drug Rehab today at 877.969.1993 to learn how we can help.
What to Do When Someone You Love Is Struggling with Addiction
When someone you love is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, the best action you can take for them is to steer them toward recovery. Some of the steps you can take when a loved one is dealing with a drug or alcohol addiction are:
- Sit down with them and encourage them to seek help through treatment
- Be supportive but stay firm on the fact that they require treatment
- Provide optimism and let them know that recovery is possible
- Locate a therapist/counselor for the addict and set up an initial consultation
- Find resources for the individual, so they understand how important it is that they get help and where they can seek it
- Let them know how much the family truly cares about them
Family members must set a healthy example for their addicted loved one, which means removing all drugs and alcohol from the home and refraining from using these substances at all costs. Letting the individual know they always have the family’s support in recovery provides an added element of security, trust, safety, and encouragement, which is essential for addicts. Knowing they won’t feel alone in this journey toward recovery is inherently beneficial.
What Not to Do When Attempting to Help an Addict
Getting angry and frustrated with a loved one who is struggling with substance abuse is not the right way to approach their problem. People in active addiction are already in a vulnerable position and will be on the defensive if you yell and scream. Things to avoid when confronting an addict about their behavior include:
- Don’t talk down to a person about their disease
- Don’t make excuses for your loved one and downplay their disease
- Don’t try to force them into deciding to go to treatment; instead, explain to them why treatment is beneficial and how it can help them get better
- Don’t give them ultimatums
- Don’t end the relationship out of frustration and anger
Instead, family members must educate themselves and their loved one on the issue at hand so that everyone can be well informed and supportive.
Support Groups for Families of Addicts
There are several types of support groups for families of addicts that can help them better cope and deal with this family disease. Some of the support groups available for families are:
- Nar-anon: Nar-anon is a 12-step program for families affected by drug addiction. Nar-anon states, “We hope to give you the assurance that no situation is too difficult and no unhappiness is too great to be overcome”.
- Al-Anon: Al-Anon is also a 12-step program but is specifically for families of people with alcohol addiction. Their meetings can be found all over the world and are a place where family members have the opportunity to learn from the experiences of others who have faced similar problems.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACOA): Adult Children of Alcoholics/Dysfunctional Families is a 12-step program of men and women who grew up in dysfunctional homes as a result of drugs and alcohol.
Having a supportive network of individuals going through similar situations as your family can provide tremendous emotional support and help you better navigate the road ahead. Having a community of individuals ready to help can ultimately make your family’s recovery journey more successful.
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.