Dont: Shame Or Criticize
Human nature sometimes forces us to shift the blame because its easier to understand a problem if we know its source. But the cause of addictions isnt so black and white, so theres never really just one thing to blame. Most importantly, the person with the addiction is not at fault for the disease.
Avoid implying or outright stating that your loved one is to blame for their addiction. Shaming or criticizing a family member who is struggling with an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction is often counterproductive to their Recovery. While tough love may have a small part in helping an alcoholic spouse, this is not the place for it.
Part of practicing compassion for your loved one involves understanding that shaming your loved one may do them more harm than good. Instead, talk with positivity and encouragement, offering the idea of a future of successful long-term Recovery. Provide verbal and physical encouragement rather than lectures or nagging.
Draw A Line At Their Unacceptable Behaviors And Compromises You Are Unwilling To Make
Cutting someone slack is not doing them any favors when they are needing to turn their bad habits around. Its not going to be an easy road to transformation, but its going to be even harder if those bad habits are still getting supporthowever indirect or unintentional that support might be. Stay honest about what youre unwilling to tolerate, and commit to those boundaries. Once your loved one is in treatment, you will have support for these positive boundaries on various levels through family programming and new habit building.
Recognize Whether Or Not Your Relationship Has Become Codependent
Codependency is a dynamic in which a person feels that the love and security they get out of a relationship be it romantic, platonic, or familial is dependent upon taking care of someone, regardless of the personal cost. This type of relationship is common among people with addiction and often goes hand-in-hand with enabling behaviors.
Codependent relationships occur most often in people who are closest to the person with a drug or alcohol problem, such as children, parents, or spouses.
Signs of codependency include:
- feeling like you have little or no room in your life for anything outside of taking care of your loved one
- spending little time taking care of yourself and your own needs
- failing to set or enforce boundaries
- neglecting other relationships in your life
- being overly concerned about what your loved one is doing throughout the day
- feeling very hurt or troubled by any reaction or displease or disappointment from them
- remaining completely loyal to them without them returning the favor
If you believe you may be in a codependent relationship with someone abusing drugs or alcohol, it is important for both your own wellbeing and their health to re-examine your relationship. Working through codependency is something that can be accomplished through family or couples counseling, which is a common offering in addiction rehab programs.
Don’t Miss: How To Counsel Drug Addicts And Alcoholics
Get Your Loved One Help For Alcoholism
We understand how scary and overwhelming the process can be to get your loved one help for alcoholism, but American Addiction Centers is here for you. Call our hotline at Who Answers? Who answers the helpline calls. today to speak with an admissions navigator about treatment options for your loved one in order to help with their drinking problem. Theres no obligation to make any decisions right away and all calls are 100% confidential.
Or, if theyre ready to seek treatment, use the form below to verify their insurance and begin their recovery journey with us.
. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. . Alcohol Use Disorder.
. American Psychiatric Association. . Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders . American Psychiatric Publishing 490-491.
Stop Enabling The Addiction
Its also important to understand the difference between helping and enabling. If youre financially supporting a loved one whos struggling with addiction or lying to help them hide the problem, then youre enabling.1
When you recognize this behavior and stop it, the benefits are twofold. First, your loved one will begin to see the consequences of their actions. Second, by refusing to continue your enabling behaviors youll make it harder for your loved one to keep feeding their addiction.
You May Like: How Addiction Affects The Brain
Pay Attention To How You Approach Someone With A Substance Abuse Disorder
If you broach the topic too often or too aggressively, threatening legal action or rehab, it is likely the addict or alcoholic in your life will begin to pull away and seek comfort in using. Social stigma can be the biggest barrier to treatment for those unwilling to seek treatment.
Before confronting the addict or alcoholic, think through what you want to say. This may mean planning an intervention. Come up with specific instances that demonstrate how their addiction has become detrimental to their life and the lives of those around them. Try to convey how their addiction has affected you specifically. Do not cast blame or negativity, but rather focus on why you why like to see your loved one lead a better, substance-free life. Express that while there is no easy cure for addiction, you are committed to helping in any way possible.
How To Talk To Someone About Their Drug Abuse
Starting a conversation with someone about their drug addiction is never easy, but its important you come from a place of compassion and understanding. Remember, no one sets out to become an addict. Drug abuse is often a misguided attempt to cope with painful issues or mental health problems. Stress tends to fuel addictive behavior, so criticizing, demeaning, or shaming them will only push your loved one away and may even encourage them to seek further comfort in substance abuse.
Discovering someone you love has a drug problem can generate feelings of shock, fear, and anger, especially if its your child or teen whos using. These strong emotions can make communicating with a drug user even more challenging. So, its important to choose a time when youre both calm, sober, and free of distractions to talk. Offer your help and support without being judgmental.
Dont delay. You dont have to wait for your loved one to hit rock bottomto get arrested, lose their job, suffer a medical emergency, or publicly humiliate themselvesto speak out. The earlier an addiction is treated, the better.
Express your concerns honestly. Emphasize that you care for the person and are worried about their well-being. Offer specific examples of your loved ones drug-related behavior that have made you concernedand be honest about your own feelings.
Staging an intervention
Don’t Miss: Where To Buy Brooks Addiction Shoes
What To Do If You Suspect A Relapse
Unfortunately, relapses happen, and with great frequency. Many studies suggest that the majority of recovering addicts will eventually relapse at some point in their lives. However, just because a relapse happens, it does not mean that an individuals long-term sobriety is at risk. With careful and rapid attention, a relapse can be limited and contained. If you suspect a recovering addict may have relapsed, consider taking the following steps:
- Consult with other friends and family to see if they share your concerns.
- Express your concerns in a kind, caring, and non-judgmental manner.
- Suggest that they contact their sponsor, or contact their sponsor for them.
- Encourage them to attend a support group meeting.
- Suggest that they contact their therapist, or contact their therapist for them.
Practice What Youre Going To Say
Let the person you care for know that youre available and that you care. Try to formulate statements that are positive and supportive. Avoid being negative, hurtful, or presumptuous.
Using I statements reduces accusation and lets you be an active participant in the discussion. It may be helpful to bring up a specific concern. You may mention when alcohol caused an unwanted effect, such as violent behavior or economic problems. Rather than saying, Youre an alcoholic you need to get help now, you can say, I love you and youre very important to me. Im concerned about how much youre drinking, and it may be harming your health.
Prepare yourself for every response. No matter the reaction, you should stay calm and assure your person that they have your respect and support.
Read Also: How To Control Video Game Addiction
Do Not Enable An Addict Or Alcoholic
Sometimes family members and friends of someone with a substance abuse disorder make the mistake of enabling the addict or alcoholic through their own behaviors. In this sense, enabling means that family or friends actions allow the addict or alcoholic to continue their self-destructive behavior. This could mean paying their legal fines, bailing them out of jail, or even continuing to forgive them time and time again. In order to stop enabling someone, it may feel like youre too harsh or mean. But ultimately, when you stop enabling someone it is a sign of how much you care for them.
This can often be a sign of codependency. If you think that you might be in a codependent relationship, its important to seek help not just for your loved one, but yourself.
Dont: Expect Immediate Change
How do you help an alcoholic? One of the best ways is to be realistic in your expectations. Long-term Recovery is not a quick fix. Its an ongoing process for your loved one that takes time, effort and continued support from professionals and family alike. Some treatments may work for some time and then need to be changed.
If one treatment doesnt work, it doesnt mean all treatments will fail. It just means youll have to find the specific one that will work for your loved one.
You May Like: Can You Get Addicted To Vyvanse
Dont Rely On Shortcuts
Many addicts will wind up in jail or institutionalized, and sadly some will die, thinking they can fix the addiction on their own with medication or self-will, despite all the evidence to the contrary.
They attempt to figure out alternative ways to stop, but the only successful approach is complete surrender with an entire change in their thought process.
The problem isnt the drugs its them and their behavior. Drugs are merely the symptom of the problem.
In the lives of drug addicts, these individuals view drugs as a shortcut and a quick fix to their problems, so why would their approach to sobriety be any different?
Sadly, families succumb to the same mindset regarding ways to help their loved ones. Many think there are alternatives outside of an intervention, failing to understand that a form of intervention is inevitably coming, either on the familys terms or on societal terms. Either way, it will occur, and if we let the addict control the kind of intervention, it wont end well. What a family is expecting their loved one to do cannot be achieved without professional help and guidance.
Addiction is the only fatal illness where people do not surrender themselves to the professionals, believing they can fix the problem on their own and denying that their family knows best.
Drug addicts and their families display almost identical behavior in the sense that both seek to fix the addiction in an easier, soft manner with as little confrontation as possible.
Help In An Emergency When Someone Has Taken Drugs
Look out for danger signs if you or other people have taken drugs, including:
- cramps and aching arms and legs
People on drugs showing these symptoms or looking distressed could have had an allergic reaction to the drug they’ve taken, or may have overdosed. It’s important to take the following steps immediately:
- get help and be honest about all drugs they’ve taken
- telephone 999 and ask for an ambulance
- clearly and calmly say where the patient is, what drugs they’ve taken and what their symptoms are
- if instructed to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, put the patient into the recovery position or do something else to save the person’s life
- make sure the person’s airways aren’t blocked, for example by vomit, and check they haven’t swallowed their tongue
- collect evidence of any drugs they may have taken as doctors need this important information to give the best treatment
- collect containers that drugs were kept in, including wrappers, packets, cling film, tin foil and syringes, and get a small sample of vomit if the person was sick
- stay until the ambulance arrives
Also Check: How To Help An Addict Without Enabling
Be A Strong Source Of Support
Strength and consistency are what addicts need around them if they are to conquer their addictions and return to a healthy lifestyle. How to help someone with addiction feel like they are supported is to show you care on a regular basis. Quite often, people addicted to drugs or alcohol are living in isolation inside their own minds, and they dont consider how deeply their family and friends care for them.
Dont wait until they have hit rock bottom to speak about your concerns. Let them know how much you care and that you will be there for support throughout the process, no matter how long it takes. And once you make the declaration, it is crucial that you follow through, so they can feel that love and support and know there is something positive in their life they can count on.
How Alcohol Abuse Affects Family And Friends
Alcohol abuse and addiction doesnt just affect the person drinkingit affects their families and loved ones, too. Watching a friend or family member struggle with a drinking problem can be as heartbreakingly painful as it is frustrating. Your loved one may be disrupting family life by neglecting their responsibilities, getting into financial and legal difficulties, or mistreating or even abusing you and other family members.
Witnessing your loved ones drinking and the deterioration of your relationship can trigger many distressing emotions, including shame, fear, anger, and self-blame. Your loved ones addiction may even be so overwhelming that it seems easier to ignore it and pretend that nothing is wrong. But in the long run denying it will only bring more harm to you, your loved one with the problem, and the rest of your family.
Its important to remember that youre not alone in your struggle. Alcoholism and alcohol abuse affects millions of people, from every social class, race, background, and culture. But there is help available. While you cant do the hard work of overcoming addiction for your loved one, your patience, love, and support can play a crucial part in their long-term recovery. With these guidelines, you can help ease your loved ones suffering, preserve your own mental health and well-being, and restore calm and stability to your relationship and family life.
Don’t Miss: How To Stop Addictive Behavior
What If My Friend Isnt Responding To My Help
Sometimes, even the best efforts to help a friend arent enough to make them stop.
Find out about treatment resources that are available
Narcotics Anonymous and SMART Recovery are two self-help recovery programs that offer support from other people recovering from drug addictions, address the factors behind drug abuse and help people regain control of their lives. These websites have tons of information about addiction and getting help. If your friend isnt willing to go to a support group, try suggesting a confidential telephone service such as DirectLine.
Dont forget about yourself
When someone you care about is trapped in addiction, it affects you, too. Family Drug Help provides support and information to family members and friends of someone with an addiction.
How You Can Help Them
Even when they know they have a drug problem, it can be difficult for people to change. You may need to be patient. If the person isnât ready to seek help, you can still support them by trying to minimise the impact that their drug use has on them and others around them.
If you are concerned about a friend or family memberâs drug use, it is important to reach out to a professional and get some advice on how to approach the issue with them.
You may be able to help by letting them know about the support that’s available to them. If they choose to seek help for their drug use, you can support them by being understanding about how they’re feeling, while encouraging them in the changes they’ve chosen to make.
For many people, taking action to deal with their drug use is just the start, and maintaining the changes they’ve made may be the most difficult part. Recognising situations that could trigger their drug use, and trying to avoid these, could help. If the person you care for does lapse back into drug use, you can encourage them to seek help, for example by keeping in contact with local support services.
If the person you care for continues to use drugs despite the support you provide, this can be very frustrating and demoralising. Remember, the decision to use drugs is their responsibility, not yours, and make sure you seek help for yourself as a carer.
Also Check: Where Can I Watch The Movie Addicted
Signs And Symptoms Of Drug Addiction
People who are addicted to drugs tend to show signs of the disease in every aspect of their lives. The symptoms of addiction are varied, but common signs of a problem with substance abuse include:3,4
- Needing to use drugs to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
- Needing more drugs to get the effects .
- Continuing use of drugs even with the awareness of the harm it causes.
- Neglecting family obligations and financial issues.
- Continuing to use drugs or alcohol despite declining physical health.
- Losing interest in hobbies.
- Changes in eating habits .
If Necessary Stage An Intervention
If the person is in grave danger or doesnt respond to your concerns, it may be helpful to stage an intervention. Before organizing an intervention, it may help to talk to a substance abuse counselor, social worker, or other trusted health expert. Their guidance may be very helpful, especially if theyre willing to attend the intervention itself.
Organize a time when friends, family, and other concerned parties can gather together. Allow at least a few hours for the intervention. Everyone present should have enough time to communicate his or her thoughts and feelings.
Host it somewhere quiet where the person with the addiction feels safe, such as their house or that of a family member. Dont attempt to lock the doors or block their exit if the meeting doesnt go well. They should be able to leave if they arent prepared to participate in the intervention. The intervention will only work if they accept it.
When they arrive, explain that youve gathered everyone together because youre concerned about their behavior. Invite members of the intervention to talk about how the persons behavior has affected them. Encourage them to express their concern for the persons welfare. It may also help to discuss the consequences that could ensue if the persons behavior continues. Its important to avoid threatening them.
You May Like: How Long Does It Take To Be Addicted To Heroin