Educate Yourself On Alcohol Use Disorders
The more you learn about alcoholism, the better you can support an alcoholic loved one. Start by speaking to a counselor or a healthcare professional who specialize in substance misuse.
Get tips on what you can do to help the person you care about. You can also search for online resources on alcohol use disorder .
Let Cal Recovery Center Do The Heavy Lifting
It can be hard to approach the subject of addiction with a loved one on your own. If you are concerned about a loved one who may be struggling with addiction to drugs, reach out to Cal Recoverys kind and caring team today. Let our admission staff guide you and provide advice as to how to approach the idea of addiction treatment with your loved one. The best opportunity for sobriety comes with early, individualized, comprehensive addiction treatment such as that found at our northern California Rehab. If you are concerned about a friend or a loved one, dont wait another day. Reach out to Cal Recovery today.
Should You Talk To An Alcoholic Differently Than Talking To A Drug Addict
No. Alcoholism and drug addiction are both diseases of the brain and body. It would be helpful for you to learn about the disease of addiction and the biological complexities surrounding the whys and hows of addiction before talking to loved one with an addiction. All addictionswhether to alcohol, drugs or behaviorsseverely disrupt brain activity and the release of neurotransmitters. This disruption interferes with an addicts ability to think rationally, usually to the point they say and do cruel, selfish things they would never say or do when sober. That said, alcoholics will very often prefer to see themselves differently than drug addicts. There is a perception many carry that: a video game addiction isnt as bad as an alcohol addiction, which isnt as bad as a cocaine addiction, which isnt as bad as an IV drug addiction. For the sake of treating the addiction, we shouldnt be worried about pride and who is better, but rather, how they are all addictions that need to be addressed.
Understanding that an addict is driven by an overwhelming craving for a substance that the brain has become addicted to can further help you manage feelings of anger and resentment when trying to convince an addict to enter a recovery program.
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Tip #: Get Counseling
It may be helpful to get some individual counseling to assist yourself. Counseling isnt just for the addict. The more you are able to manage the better you will be able to help your loved one. There are a variety of resources to find counselors. Your company may have an Employee Assistance Program or your health insurance may have mental health benefits that you can access. Talk to someone you trust about finding the resources you need and do a search for resources in your area.
How To Talk To An Addict In Denial
How to talk to an addict all depends on where they are at in the stages of change. The first stage of change is called pre-contemplation. Most addicts and alcoholics are not at this stage. When you are faced with an addict in the precontemplation stage you will find they are in complete denial and see no need for change. To help an addict move out of the precontemplation stage they need to see the consequences of their addiction and behaviors. In clinical terms, this is called ambivalence. This occurs when the addict is able to recognize there are problems and starts to look at those problems and possible solutions to them.
This brings us to the contemplation stage. At this stage, the addict will start to weigh the pros and cons of continued behavior and substance use. As professionals, we have found that just talking to them can be ineffective as the substance user will make decisions based on their maladaptive coping strategies. In other words, they often will choose the path of least resistance to solve those problems. Families are often able to change their behaviors of enabling and codependency. In doing so this can help the addict become accountable for their actions. What often occurs as a result of this strategy is the addict often makes changes much quicker and more effectively. Your loved one is more likely to see the problem and attempt to change when it is their problem and not yours. Consequences and accountability do help people look at things differently.
Have Them Talk Openly About Their Struggles
Ask your loved one what has been causing them to drink. Let them know you are willing to understand what they are going through.
If they start to open up, listen and do not interrupt them. You do not have to agree with their behavior or try to fix their problems. Just acknowledge their situation and how it makes them feel.
What To Expect When Your Family Member Enters Treatment
Part of learning how to help an alcoholic loved one is knowing what treatments are available. Another part you may not have considered is what you can expect once they begin treatment. You may end up experiencing the gamut of emotions, all of which are normal, such as:
- Relief: You may be glad your loved one is finally getting treatment and comforted to know that your loved one is physically in a safe space.
- Anxiety: You may worry about the well-being of your loved one and whether theyre getting the help they need.
- Anger: You may feel resentment that your loved one seemingly burdened you with their disease.
- Sadness: Feeling bad for your loved one and their struggles is a sign of empathy and compassion. Sadness doesnt necessarily mean pity, either.
- Shame: You may feel either shame stemming from the guilt that you couldnt save your loved one or embarrassment at having to explain that your loved one is in Recovery.
When your loved one enters treatment, its the perfect time for you to focus more on yourself and your healing. Reach out to support groups of people who are in the same situation as you. If you find yourself blaming your loved one for their addiction and its impact on your life, speak to a therapist to work through those feelings healthily.
Eventually, you will be asked to become involved in your loved ones Recovery. Family involvement in rehabilitation has proven to be incredibly beneficial for both the patient as well as the family.
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Here Are Some Guidelines To Follow In Order To Have A Productive Conversation:
Dont bring up the subject when your loved one is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. When someone is high or intoxicated, its hard to have an honest conversation. They are more likely to lash out, dismiss the notion they have a problem, or place the blame on others.
Ensure you have plenty of time to have this conversation. This isnt the kind of chat you wrap up in under ten minutes. Your goal is to have an open, honest, two-way conversation where youre able to state your concerns and understand your loved ones perception of the situation.
When you sit down to talk, let your loved one know you care for them and thats why youre having this conversation. Youre concerned for their well-being and want to see them healthy, happy, and living life to their fullest potential.
Talk about some of the behaviors you find concerning and let them know youre worried about the negative impact of their drug or alcohol use. Tell them you worry that continued drug or alcohol use will take an even bigger toll on them.
List the behaviors youve observed, state that you are worried about the effect drinking or drug use is having and express concern about continued use.
Ensure you create a two-way dialogue by asking open-ended questions.
Dont expect this first conversation will be enough to make them realize theyre struggling with addiction or immediately seek treatment. This might be the first time your loved one has stopped to consider whether or not they have a problem.
Supporting A Loved Ones Addiction Recovery
Theres no one-size-fits-all solution to overcoming an addiction to drugs, and its rarely a process thats quick or straightforward. While you can support your loved one and encourage treatment, you cant force them to change or control their decision-making. Letting your loved one assume responsibility for their behavior and choices is an important step on their road to sobriety.
Adjust your expectations. Everyone is different. Recovery for one person may mean total abstinence from drugs. For another, it could mean cutting back or staying mostly drug-free. Being too rigid in your expectations can lead to disappointment and a sense of failure, even if your loved one finds stability in their life again.
Encourage your loved one to seek help. While some people are able to quit drugs on their own, the more help and support a person has, the better their chances of success. Offer to sit with your loved one while they call a helpline or accompany them to a doctors appointment, counseling session, or peer support group meeting.
Help plan for triggers and cravings. Your loved one will need to find ways to cope with drug cravings and triggers. You can help distract them with other activities or encourage them to learn how to ride out the urge, but ultimately, they have to be responsible for their own sobriety.
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Keep The Discussion Two
Even though you may have prepared pages of words you want to say, dont try to deliver those words all at once, like a speech. Make sure the discussion is a two-way street. Really listen to what your loved one has to say so they dont feel attacked, or like you are making assumptions about their motives or behavior.
Try To Plan What You Are Going To Say
You might have winged your high school speech class and came away with a respectable grade, but this is not the time to make everything up on the fly. Think ahead of time what youre going to say, do some research, and jot down some notes. You could try role-play with another member of the family.
Remember that this doesnt have to be an Oscar-worthy speech, but youre trying to connect with your loved one. Think about them, why they are in this situation in the first place, and try to empathize. Do not push them into listening or try to only get them to hear what you want to say.
Explain that youre worried about their health. You should express your feelings genuinely by saying something like Im concerned that drinking so much every day is harming your health.
Avoid using labels like addict or alcoholic. Focus on the person and their behavior instead of the label. People who are struggling with alcohol addiction can become upset or defensive when people are quick to use labels.
Use empathetic, not blaming, statements such as I know that youve been struggling at work or I know that youre more stressed than you normally are.
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Our Family Support Services
At Gladstones Clinic we understand the complexities of dealing with addiction. We have over 15 years of professional experience in helping people to deal with substance and alcohol abuse. We also understand the impact that addiction can have on families and friendships.
Gladstones Clinic is dedicated to working with families struggling with addiction. We have policies, practices and a residential rehab programme in place that both encourages family involvement in their loved ones recovery and also provides support and counselling to families who are struggling to cope themselves.
Why notcontact us today to find out more about our family support services.
Gladstones Clinic offers a residential detox and rehab programme for both alcoholism and drug addiction that applies abstinence-based, integrative treatments and a non 12-step philosophy as part of our treatment model.
We work with alcoholics and addicts and their families on a daily basis in our residential rehab clinic. We have seen the damage done to everyone involved. We apply our years of experience with the latest integrative treatment models and therapies in our highly successful practice.
Gladstones operates two private residential rehab facilities in the South-West of England, and two in London. Our main office and facilities are located in central Bristol.
All Our clinics provide clients with a private room & full board included in the cost of their residential rehabilitation programme.
What Does Denial In Addiction Look Like
Denial can be outright refusal to believe there is an issue. It can also be recognizing there may be a problem and their problems arent that bad. Comparisons to others who have lost more than they have is a common justification and manipulation to themselves and others. Many alcoholics feel they do not have a problem because they are still employed. An addict addicted to opiates may think they are justified because of legitimate physical pain and they arent junkies because the medication was prescribed by a doctor. A common denominator behavior in most alcoholics and addicts is the thought that every problem is somebody elses fault. Many are also in denial that they need professional help and believe they can fix any problem themselves. Below are a few examples of denial:
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Ways To Support Your Special Someone With Drug Addiction
For an addict, deciding to get help and kick the addiction is no easy feat. Luckily, studies have shown that with the additional love and support of someone close to the addict, their chances of recovery are much higher.
While each situation of addiction has its own unique sets of circumstances and factors at play, there are some general guidelines as to the best way to help someone and offer support.
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Alcohol Treatment & Recovery From Alcohol Use Disorders
No matter how dire your current situation may seem, know that recovery from an AUD is possible.
American Addiction Centers can help you and your loved one find the right rehab for your needs. We have treatment facilities across the nation that offer personalized treatment plans and compassionate, understanding staff who know what your loved one is going through. At our facilities, you may participate in inpatient alcohol abuse rehab, outpatient rehab program, 12 step treatment, and more. If youre interested in learning more about treatment options or if you have any questions or concerns, call our free, confidential helpline to talk to an admissions navigator any time of day or night.
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Will My Friend Get Into Trouble
If your friend needs medical help either from a clinic or an ambulance its essential that you tell the people helping everything you know about the drugs theyve taken.
And if you have any drugs left, hand them over to the medics as it may help them understand the problem.
They won’t tell the police and you wont get into trouble.
If your friend is caught with drugs, they might get into trouble. They might get a warning, an arrest, a formal caution or a conviction. This will depend on the drugs theyre caught with and what theyre doing with them.
If your friend is caught with drugs at school or university they might get into trouble there too. Getting caught with drugs in school or uni can lead to suspension or expulsion, and to the police getting involved.
Approach Them With Love And Compassion
Your loved one may be dealing with a lot of guilt and self-blame. So you should avoid shouting at them or judging their behavior. Be mindful of your tone of voice.
It can be difficult, considering the pain you went through. But acting this way will only make them defensive, angry, and unwilling to receive help.
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Dos And Donts Of Conversations About Addiction
Loving someone with an addiction can be frightening, frustrating and utterly baffling at times. These conflicting emotions make knowing what to say and how to check in feel awkward and difficult. Here are a few dos and donts to guide your conversations and help keep channels of communication natural, positive, and constructive.
1. Do speak to your loved one, not their addiction no one wants to be defined by an illness or a disorder, and those battling addiction are no different. Avoid labels and pointed questions in favor of open-ended questions that encourage genuine conversations.
2. Do educate yourself about addiction it is easy to simply fall in step with the turbulent emotions related to loving someone with an addiction and respond based on those, but this likely wont help your interactions with them. Being informed about addiction and understanding the science behind it will give you a better idea about why people living with an addiction do what they do, and will help you respond more constructively.
4. Dont wait if you suspect that a loved one is developing an addiction, the earlier you speak with them about it the better. Remember that the tone you want to strike is not accusatory, but observational and from a place of care and concern. Listen more and talk less in order to open up ample space for the person to analyse and reflect on their choices.
Understanding The Effects And Recognizing The Signs Of Alcoholism
Alcoholism, or alcohol use disorder, is the most severe form of alcohol abuse. Alcoholism develops when individuals drink so much that their bodies become dependent upon, or addicted to alcohol. This usually happens gradually, but once the condition occurs, individuals feel as though they require alcohol to function normally. Typically, alcohol becomes one of the most important aspects of their lives, which often leads to a wide range of personal, professional, emotional, health, and social issues. Despite those problems, alcoholics continue to drink even when their alcohol consumption leads to negative consequences such as job loss, financial trouble, and strained relationships.
Your loved one may be struggling with an alcohol addiction if they routinely:
- Drink alone
- Reddening of the face and nose
- Spider veins on the skin
Heres how you can talk to your friend or loved one about their alcohol use and the dangers of addiction.
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