Getting Support As An Addicts Loved One
As someone affected by a loved ones addiction, you need support almost as much as they do. In treatment, you will receive the following benefits:
- You will deal with your own emotional issues resulting from the addiction.
- You will learn how to provide effective support to the addict.
- You will learn how to appropriately respond to various situations.
- You will be able to speak with the loved ones of other addicts.
The Dos And Donts Of Helping A Loved One With An Addiction
Once youve noticed the signs of addiction in your loved one like an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction, for example youll need to know how to talk to and treat them in a way that is positive and helpful. There are several ways to do this, some easy to practice and others that require a little more effort and understanding on your part. Here are a few dos and donts for helping a loved one deal with addiction:
Mitigating The Impact Of Addiction
The last theme is mitigating the impact of addiction in the family. Here, we begin to see a transition into full acceptance of the addiction and motivation for change. When the family unit has arrived at this point, we begin to see family members resiliency and determination to support their loved one and save them from their addiction.2
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What Are Unhealthy Boundaries
In reality, though, many peoples experiences with boundaries are skewed by the family relationships they experienced while growing up. They carry this experience with them into adulthood. Even if it isnt something a person is consciously aware of when interacting with others, it can have a significant impact on their relationships.
For some people who grew up in a dysfunctional family, they may have learned that the best way to get their needs met is to put their own needs first and ignore the needs of others. On the other hand, you may respond in the exact opposite way. If you had a demanding parent who was loud and insisted on getting their own way, you may grow up to be the type of adult who simply wants to get along and will do anything to keep the peace in the family.
Another way in which boundaries get blurred is when someone confuses love with sympathy. While a parent or sibling wants their child or loved one to do well and be successful, there can be a point at which helping a person crosses over to enabling. At that point, the person receiving the assistance is no longer being treated as an independent person. They are having things done for them that they can and should be doing for themselves.
They Will Most Likely Quit Their Jobs/school And Have Very Bad Relationships With Their Families/friends Because Their Addiction Is More Important
This brings me right back to number 4, most likely the addict will not have a job and they wont attend any type of post secondary education. They will have very bad relationships with your parents/friends and their own parents due to the fact that they do nothing all day long and are extremely sensitive when the idea of a job or attending school is brought up. They get very defensive because they are beginning to realize that the addiction is real.
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Dont: Violate Their Privacy
In taking care of yourself and attending therapy, you may be tempted to vent about your loved one with an addiction. While you should be as honest about your feelings as possible when getting therapy, its important to respect their privacy. This is especially relevant when discussing someone with addiction with friends or family.
Make sure the person is okay being talked about and having their struggles discussed. If you attend counseling with your loved one, make sure you dont reveal what was said in session to others. If your loved one attends therapy or counseling on their own and dont want to discuss what they talked about in session, respect that and dont push them for details.
The Effects Of Addiction On A Family
There are countless effects of drug addiction on the family. Strained relationships, financial difficulties, and increased risk of abuse are only the start. Since each family has a different dynamic, not all families feel the same effects to the same extent. Regardless, its impossible to deny that addiction affects the entire family.
Addiction strains relationships no matter which person in the family has the problem. It doesnt matter if its a parent, child, spouse, or sibling. Every member of the struggles alongside the addict to an extent. Living with someone in active addiction is a daily challenge for everyone in the home.
Family members also respond in different ways. Some step back from the family unit to avoid engaging with the addict. They dont want to involve themselves with the chaos that comes with addiction. Some take on the opposite role and try to influence or control the addict into stopping or getting help. Others ride the middle line and try their best to blend in.
How Addiction Affects Children
An estimated 1 in 8 children lives with a parent who had an active substance use disorder in the past year. The effects of addiction a child depend on a few things:
- Whether they come from a single-parent or two-parent household
- Whether one or both parents struggle with addiction
How Addiction Affects Parents
How Addiction Affects Siblings
Increased Risk of Abuse
More Addiction in the Family
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Tips For Living With Someone Who Has An Alcohol Addiction
If a loved one in your household has AUD, consider the following tips to make life more manageable:
- Consider your safety first. This also includes people who are more vulnerable to the effects of physical and emotional violence, such as children and pets. Temporary relocation may be necessary for your loved one with AUD if your safety is threatened.
- Restrict access to your money. Remove your loved one with AUD from any joint accounts, or close them entirely. Dont give them cash, even if they say its for other purposes besides alcohol.
- Dont enable. If you continue to support your loved ones alcohol addiction by letting things remain status quo, you may be enabling them. You may also be enabling your loved one if you continue to buy alcohol or give them money to spend on the addiction themselves. The fear of anger or retribution can fuel such enabling behaviors. But in order to break this cycle, its important to not give in.
- Set up an intervention. This is an opportunity when your loved ones family members, friends, and co-workers all come together to persuade them to stop drinking. Its also important to have a neutral party present, such as a therapist.
- Get your loved one to a treatment program. These can include residency programs for more intense cases of AUD. Your doctor can help recommend the best fit for your loved one.
Talk therapy can also help you all work through the challenges AUD can present to a household.
How To Detach From An Addict With Love
August 25, 2018 – Love and Relationships, Parent Resources – 6 Comments
Loving an addict is difficult, painful, and often lacks the emotional reward given by normal relationships. Persons who are addicted are often egocentric, reckless, and selfish, and often care more about their next high than a person who is giving up everything for them. Unfortunately, this behavior is unlikely to change, and for the most part, addicts will not change until they decide to do so for themselves. Even forcing a loved one into rehab doesnt ensure that they will recover, because they must personally want to be clean to make it happen.
While it is easy to sacrifice yourself to care for and to try to help an addict, it most often does not work, and instead creates shared addictions and co-dependency, where you are unable to walk away from the addict because you are too emotionally invested in them. This kind of codependency often enables the addict to continue using, because someone is always there for them and caring for them, and typically taking the brunt of their mistakes. Detaching with love is the process of stepping away from an addict, so that their choices and behavior cease to affect you as much, so that you can make the most of your life even if you arent yet ready, or do not wish, to cut them out of your life completely.
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Start Taking Care Of Yourself And Your Family First
While you are running around worrying about and cleaning up after your spouses addictive messes, you probably have lost focus on other areas of your life and that of your children.
When you constantly put the addicts needs first, you may think you are being a good spouse, but you are really just hurting yourself and your family and breeding resentment.
You and your children need to have lives that are as normal as possible, no matter what the addict is doing.
- Maintain normal family activities church, school plays, baseball practice, etc.
- Eat your meals together
- Get plenty of sleep and exercise
- Visit with family and friends dont isolate yourself
- Keep an eye on your health stress can damage your immune system
- Practice stress-reducing techniques yoga, meditation, etc.
Tips For Coping With A Loved One’s Substance Use Disorder
The pathway to healing and recovery is often a journey that can progress over multiple years. Addiction not only involves the individual suffering from the substance use disorder, but their partner, their family, and their friends as well.
When supporting a partner or family member who is in active addiction to alcohol or other drugs, its critically important that you also take care of your well-being. It is a balancing act of offering support to your partner in navigating the treatment and recovery options available, while at the same time not losing sight of what you need to be happy and healthy.
Find 8 tips below for how to balance supporting the positive health behaviors of your partner, while also taking care of yourself.
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How Alcohol Addiction Can Affect A Household
When someone with AUD lives in your household, the rest of your family members can be at risk for negative effects. Some of the most common risks are the damage to your emotional and mental well-being.
Having someone intoxicated on a consistent basis can be stressful and cause anxiety over whats going to happen next. You might feel guilty about the situation, eventually leading to depression. Your loved ones addiction might also start taking a financial toll.
Intoxication can also present other unpredictable events, including physical dangers. When under the influence, your loved one may become angry and lash out. They likely dont even realize theyre behaving this way, and they may not remember once the effects of the alcohol wear off. Someone with AUD may also become angry or irritable when they dont have access to alcohol because theyre experiencing withdrawal.
Even if your loved one doesnt become violent from AUD, they can still present security dangers to the household. They may no longer perform the roles they once did, and they can disrupt family dynamics. Such changes can be stressful for the entire family.
The Repercussions Of Addiction Arent Limited To The Individual
The repercussions of addiction arent limited to the individual. Their loved ones may also suffer as they watch someone they care about struggle with this disease. Witnessing your loved one battling addiction is heartbreaking. Oftentimes, these are people they share a home with. Living with an addict can cause a rollercoaster of emotions. You love that person, but you also may be afraid of them. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause people to act out in ways they normally wouldnt. As this person is experiencing the repercussions of this disease, you may suffer as well. As a drug rehab center in Gilman, we know it can be complicated to live with someone with a substance abuse disorder. Although we encourage addicts to immediately begin their recovery, were also here to offer some tips for living with an addict that may benefit their loved ones.
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Tough Love Is A Hard But A Valuable Language To Learn
Geno, an adult client of mine, came in to see me, feeling very frustrated and angry. He described recently seeing his adult son’s phone number pop up on his Caller ID. It was Geno’s day off from work and he had planned to decompress. But, he thought, after all, “This is my son, and I love him,” so he accepted the call. As Geno listened to his son’s slurred voice, he felt flooded with upsetting thoughts such as What the heck is it now? immediately followed by guilt for being so suspicious of his son.
Geno’s son went on a 20-minute rant about how his former boss was a jerk and that he still can’t find another job. He mentioned that he had smoked less weed, but that he had no money for his rent payment. Geno mentioned that he had financial pressures too and his son immediately said, “Whatever, dad, don’t worry about me!”
As the room started to spin, Geno, to his own amazement said, “Only this one time” but he knew his words had a hollow ring, since he’d said this so many times before. So, with mixed emotions, Geno later went to his son’s apartment to “loan” him money to pay his rent. As usual, his son, with his beaming, broad charismatic smile, promised to pay Geno back, but he knew that would never happen. Geno thought about how this chaos is unsustainable and wondered when he would ever learn to stand on his own two feet.
Do You Enable?
Helping Your Adult Child Without Enabling
Encouraging Your Adult to Live in Her or His Own SkinSkin Thats Also in the Game
Find An Approach That Works
There are a number of different treatment options that can be effective, so it is important to consider the options. Think about which approach might be best suited to you and your loved one’s needs and goals.
Depending on the nature of the addiction, treatment might involve psychotherapy, medication, support groups, or a combination of all of these. A few options include:
Other important factors that can affect a person’s recovery include family involvement and other social supports. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that family therapy is an important part of an effective recovery plan.
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Tips For Living With An Addict
You also need to take care of your own physical and mental well-being. You can take time for yourself to do things you enjoy, and if youre living with a drug addict or alcoholic, you should consider joining a support group. A support group for families and loved ones of addicts can help you deal with emotional issues youre experiencing as a result of the addiction, youll learn healthy ways to provide support to the addict, and youll learn coping strategies that will help you deal with situations that may come your way.
Youll also gain a social support network of people with experiences similar to your own, and in a support group for loved ones of addicts you can start to learn about having an intervention and how to help the addict move in the direction of getting treatment.
Seeking addiction treatment can feel overwhelming. We know the struggle, which is why we’re uniquely qualified to help.
Your call is confidential, and there’s no pressure to commit to treatment until you’re ready. As a voluntary facility, we’re here to help you heal — on your terms. Our sole focus is getting you back to the healthy, sober life you deserve, and we are ready and waiting to answer your questions or concerns 24/7.
Living With A Partner Addict
With growing rates of many types of substance addiction across the U.S., more and more husbands and wives are waking up to the stark reality that their loved one, their partner for life, and their marital spouse in sickness and in health is a full-blown addict either addicted to legal or illicit drugs , or alcohol . Sometimes, it can even be both.
It is not a lack of love, but a lack of friendship that makes unhappy marriages. Friedrich Nietzsche, renowned German philosopher and essayist
In fact, an addicted spouse is one of the most common reasons cited in divorce papers, the cause of many marriages that end in failure and, ultimately, that end up floundering hopelessly in the divorce courts. Obviously, if children are involved as well, the whole emotional conundrum becomes even harder to solve, and, sadly, the prospect of actual treatment becomes more remote.
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Become Educated And Stay Involved
In most cases, drug use significantly changes the lives of all those close to the addict none more so than the immediately family. For this reason, the family often needs help, too.
Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities provide education for family members on topics such as how addiction works and how to handle stress. These programs are key to restoring the health of the family unit after addiction.
The entire family needs to be involved in the treatment as well as the recovery process. To do this, the family will need to learn the best ways to support the recovering addict. Agreeing to participate in family education is a great way to support the addicts recovery.
Many outpatient family therapy programs are available for you and your loved ones. You meet with a certified therapist who teaches you intervention skills you can use at home during stressful and trigger situations. You learn healthy communication skills and ways to express feelings and needs without projecting blame.