Dont: Enable Your Loved One
There can be a fine line between helping someone with an addiction and enabling them. Sometimes when we think were protecting a loved one from the consequences of their addiction, we are actually enabling them to continue with potentially destructive behavior.
For example, if youre trying to figure out how to help an alcoholic, keeping them from drinking and driving is helpful, since that could put them and others in danger. However, consistently offering to drive them home whenever they get too intoxicated is enabling their actions, because its setting up a formula in which you are constantly available to rescue them.
Studies show that people with addictions are more likely to proactively seek treatment when they are forced to face the consequences of their actions. So, if you want to know how to help someone with an addiction, allow them to make mistakes without the promise of your rescue.
Its important to set up boundaries and rules, both for your well-being and the well-being of your loved one and its important to enforce those rules and boundaries. This is the only part of Recovery in which tough love is beneficial, since its done for both you and your loved ones protection.
What To Say To An Addict In Denial
Approaching a loved one about their addiction is never easy, especially when they are in denial. However, by the time you have realized this is necessary, we are no longer concerned with ease. You should be having this conversation as often as it takes until your loved one is willing to change, but there are specific ways to approach it. Here are some pointers on how to address the situation.
Get Educated About Addiction
Take the time to learn more about the nature and behavior of drug addiction.
Addiction is much more than substance abuse of things like cocaine, alcohol, marijuana, or prescription drugs. it can be a behavior that is usually due to some underlying emotional issue, chemical imbalance, or other disorder that causes a person to act a certain way or to self-medicate.
People with such behaviors can be addicted to just about anything in an unhealthy way whether it is sex, exercise, work, eating, or a substance. And when someone is addicted to something, there are often co-occurring disorders at play such as depression, anxiety, bipolar, obsessive-compulsiveness, or eating disorders.
Once a person becomes addicted to a substance or behavior, the continuing use and abuse are more about homeostasis rather than getting high. As time goes on, the perceived benefits of that behavior or substance that originally lured them in usually fade away, but the need and impulse remain.
Treatment programs like drug rehab work to treat the underlying causes of addictive behaviors. That is why drug rehabilitation can be so instrumental in causing life-altering behaviors and constructive, positive changes.
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Loving An Addict In Recovery
Love isnt just what you feel. Its what you do. When you show support for your partners needs in recovery and take steps to demonstrate that support, youre experiencing love in action.
One of the benefits of loving an addict in recovery is the unique perspective and renewed appreciation for life lived one day at a time. Because theyve taken the time for introspection during recovery, many recovering addicts have a much stronger sense of their strengths and weaknesses than the average person. This type of partner can bring wonderful insights and clearer communication into a relationship than most people. Thats when recovery is a gift for budding relationships.
How To Talk To Someone With A Substance Use Disorder
When you talk with your loved one about their substance use, there are things that you can do and not do that can help the conversation be more productive and potentially result in a positive outcome.7, 8
- Express your concerns and state facts, not opinions.
- Be patient.
- Offer help, including information about treatment, how it works and how it can help them get off drugs.
- Offer to go with them to the doctor or to an appointment.
- Neglect your own needs. Take care of yourself, regardless of the outcome.
- Dont yell or act angry.
- Enable the person.
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Feeling Overwhelmed Is Common
There will be a lot of information for your loved one to keep track of, and substance use disorder may have damaged certain brain functions. Encourage your loved one with positive affirmations daily, and be as patient as possible. They may feel overwhelmed by the amount of change and new responsibilities. In moments of self-doubt, your encouragement and faith in them can help overcome feelings of defeat.
We know that both the addict and the friends and family are greatly affected by addiction. However, we can help everyone involved. Call us today, and we will make sure everyone is supported in the way they need.
How Can Addiction Be Successfully Treated
Addiction is a chronic disease that causes significant changes in the way the brain functions and how a person behaves. It is characterized by the compulsive misuse of a substance, even though it brings about significant negative consequences. Addiction can be treated and managed successfully through evidence-based behavioral therapies and, in some cases, medication.4 Some rehab centers use alternative therapies in treating addiction.
Addiction develops after a person uses or misuses substances and then loses their ability to control their use, negatively affecting their home, work, school and/or family life.4 This loss of control is often fueled by the way the body adapts to regular exposure to a substance: tolerance and physical dependence.
Tolerance is characterized by the need to take more of a drug to keep feeling the desired effects.5 As an individual exposes their body to regular use of certain drugs, the body adapts to its constant presence. When the drug is taken away withdrawal symptoms emerge as the body re-adjusts to not having the drug anymore. This can lead to strong cravings for the substance to relieve uncomfortable or distressing withdrawal symptoms, and may result in an individual struggling to quit using and relapsing or returning to substance use.
Treatment for drug and alcohol addiction focuses on management of the disorder, much like the process of managing other chronic diseases, including asthma or heart disease.6
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How To Help An Addict In Denial
March 15, 2022By Natalie Marston-Salem
Seeing a loved one struggle with addiction can be distressing, to say the least and trying to convince them to check in to an addiction treatment center may be difficult, especially while theyre in denial.
If you are wondering how to help an addict in denial, youre not alone, and we can help you find the answers youre looking for.
Why Do Addicts Relapse
Each persons addiction, recovery path, and reasons for relapse differ. However, it is universally agreed that the rehabilitation journey is difficult, non-linear, and relapse is far from uncommon.
Some reasons for relapse might include:
- A change in environment or living situation
- Mental health or secondary disorder reactions
- Work stress
- Withdrawal symptoms
These are just some of the many reasons that an addict might relapse. No reason is better or worse than others, requiring immediate attention. Similarly, a relapse does not mean that treatment has failed it means that the risk of a specific type or cause of relapse must be noted and added to their recovery plan.
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How To Help Someone With A Drug Addiction
When someone you care about is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to get them the help they need. This is especially true because the actions of an addict impact more than themselves, and your life may be intertwined with the consequences of their addiction.
This means that immediately getting the proper help is crucial for them, you, and anyone else affected by the addiction.
Here are some actions to take when helping someone through drug addiction:
Regardless of how much you want to see your loved one recover, they must want recovery themselves. Still, they need the help of their friends, family, and a support system. Using half-measures or improper channels to help can set them back, so working with professional guidance is highly recommended.
Recovery Requires Actions Rather Than Intentions
Happy thoughts will only get you so far. Positive affirmations and intentions can be helpful, but addiction recovery requires actions. Taking small daily actions to improve your lifestyle and work towards your goals, such as walking for 15 minutes, or signing up for a new class to keep yourself busy is the only way to move forward.
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Living With A Recovering Addict
Often times getting into rehab is the most difficult part. But it is not a cure all. Often times even though you have gone through rehab there are still obstacles to tackle once your loved one returns home. While rehabilitation is a great first step to recovery, does not ensure lasting wellness, and it can even create new challenges.
Often, rehab will change an individuals goals, expectations, behavior, and even personality. In turn, this can change the way loved ones feel and interact. It can also bring forth underlying issues that were long covered up by addiction.
The Best Way You can support someone back from recovery is:
- Educate yourself on recovery from addiction
- Understand there will still be unresolved issues
- Dont have unreasonable expectations
- Make changes to support sobriety
- Find extra support
How To Help A Drug Addict Stay Clean After Rehab
While helping a loved one to detox and withdraw from drugs and then completing a course of addiction treatment is immensely gratifying, this is only the start of an ongoing journey.
Indeed, recovery can bring about its own challenges for you. You may find recovery changes your loved ones goals, behaviors, and expectations, sometimes even their personality. This can introduce strain on your relationship.
Also, the process of addiction recovery, especially some of the tenets of 12-step programs, often causes people to address underlying issues previously masked by addiction.
The more you learn about all aspects of addiction and recovery, the better placed you will be to help your loved one.
You should be patient and expect it to take time for your loved one to unravel financial issues, health problems, and possibly even legal issues brought about by addiction.
Start doing more activities together as a couple that dont involve using substances. It could be time to take up a new hobby together.
Set aside a date night so you can bask in the present while planning for the future.
Above all else, support your loved ones in any way you can without enabling them, and let them do the rest.
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Tweak Your Lifestyle Accordingly
If your loved one is living with you, ensure the household is free of all substances and triggers.
Prompt your loved one to form new and healthier sober friendships, and also to make healthier lifestyle choices.
Take this opportunity to examine your own alcohol intake, prescription medications, and any drug use.
What Medications And Devices Help Treat Drug Addiction
Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment to help a patient stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and avoid relapse.
- Treating withdrawal. When patients first stop using drugs, they can experience various physical and emotional symptoms, including restlessness or sleeplessness, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Certain treatment medications and devices reduce these symptoms, which makes it easier to stop the drug use.
- Staying in treatment. Some treatment medications and mobile applications are used to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the drug. These treatments act slowly to help prevent drug cravings and have a calming effect on body systems. They can help patients focus on counseling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment.
- Preventing relapse. Science has taught us that stress cues linked to the drug use , and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. Scientists have been developing therapies to interfere with these triggers to help patients stay in recovery.
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How To Help Someone Dealing With Addiction
Knowing someone who has an addiction is not uncommon, but knowing the best way to help a loved one with an addiction can be confusing and even scary. When someone has an addiction, it can affect every aspect of their lives as well as the lives of their loved ones. You will inevitably be concerned about your loved one, and it can be difficult to know what to do and what not to do, but its important to remember that Recovery is a solution.
Build A Meaningful Drug
You can support your drug treatment and protect yourself from relapse by having activities and interests that provide meaning to your life. Its important to be involved in things that you enjoy, that make you feel needed, and add meaning to your life. When your life is filled with rewarding activities and a sense of purpose, your addiction will lose its appeal.
Pick up an old hobby or try a new one. Do things that challenge your creativity and spark your imaginationsomething youve always wanted to try. Learn a musical instrument, a foreign language, or try a new sport.
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Find Support For Yourself
Being in a relationship with a person who has a substance use disorder is often stressful. It’s important that you accept that what you are going through is difficult and seek support. There are many resources that exist for this purpose.
Consider joining a support group, for instance, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Children and teens can get support from Alateen. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration offers a variety of resources designed to provide insight and support for families of addicts.
It’s also essential to develop stress management strategies. This is an important step in helping you help your loved one. These strategies will help you cope with the stressors you will likely encounter when helping a friend or family member seek and receive help with an addiction.
The First Rule Of Recovery
You dont recover from an addiction by stopping using. You recover by creating a new life where it is easier to not use. If you dont create a new life, then all the factors that brought you to your addiction will eventually catch up with you again.
You dont have to change everything in your life. But there are a few things and behaviors that have been getting you into trouble, and they will continue to get you into trouble until you let them go. The more you try to hold onto your old life in recovery, the less well you will do.
Here are some common things that people need to change in order to achieve recovery.
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How To Support Someone In Addiction Recovery
There are plenty of people in the United States who can easily name a person in their life suffering from an addiction, be it a family member, friend, partner, neighbor, or coworker. In the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health , as sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration , the amount of illicit drugs users age 12 and older in the United States was estimated at 53.2 million people. And with the opioid epidemic from prescription painkillers and heroin still on the rise in the country, these numbers havent gotten any better. The question is, will you let the addict in your life spiral downward or will you be a part of their recovery support.
Drinking, on the other hand, has established itself as a staple of American culture so much so that slightly more than half of Americans age 12 and older are current drinkers, with about 135.5 million folks downing beer, wine, and liquor on the regular. Still, not everyone socially drinks but instead sinks into a downward spiral of alcoholism. About 23 percent of the total US population were surveyed to be binge drinkers and 6.5 percent were heavy drinkers in general.
If you choose to be involved in someones recovery support, here are some principles you need to remind yourself of as you support your loved one toward treatment.
How To Help A Person Recovering From An Addiction
Helping a person recovering from an addiction can come down to helping them connect to treatmentif theyre not already doing soand encouraging support groups like AA. The people this person meets in these meetings are much better positioned to encourage their sobriety than family members are.
Attend meetings for loved ones of those recovering from an addiction as a way of supporting yourself and connecting with others who can relate. Bear in mind the person recovering from an addiction will need real-time to go through these big steps . Recovery can take months and years. Staying realistic about relapse and the road ahead is advised.
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Find Support For Your Addiction Recovery
Dont try to go it alonereach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.
Lean on close friends and family. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If youre reluctant to turn to your loved ones because youve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.
Build a sober social network. If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. Its important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
Consider moving into a sober living home. Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while youre recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you dont have a stable home or a drug-free living environment.
Make meetings a priority. Join a 12-step recovery support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous , and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what youre going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.