Drug and alcohol addiction is one of the greatest threats facing our loved ones today. In 2017 alone, more than 72,000 people lost their lives to drug overdoses. (1) Those who are faced with having a loved one suffering from alcoholism and/or addiction often times suffer just as much, if not more, than the addict themselves.
Knowing how to help a loved one suffering from alcoholism or addiction is more often than not a challenge for those faced with it.
Here we go over how best to help a loved one with alcoholism or addiction.
Do not be an enabler
The reality is that doing everything we can to help our loved ones with parts of their lives that are falling apart can often times actually enable the addiction that caused these problems.
Do not ignore the problem
This may seem obvious, but the truth is that it is human nature to sometimes ignore truths that are extremely difficult for us to accept. This can be particularly true when we are faced with loved ones suffering from addiction.
It is crucial to not ignore or minimize their problem, as alcoholism and addiction is a progressive and ultimately fatal illness.
Set clear boundaries
As addiction and alcoholism progress, the behaviors of those who are inflicted with the illness will also progressively get worse and worse. It is crucial to establish clear and firm boundaries with your loved one, and to enforce them if need be.
Address behaviors and not the person
As the alcoholism and/or addiction progresses, it can become increasingly harder not to attack the person who is suffering. It is crucial, however, to address your loved ones behaviors and not them specifically.
Do not bail them out of every situation
It is often very hard for us not to bail our loved ones out of the difficult situations their alcoholism/addiction places them in.
This can include lying for them, providing them with money, etc. It is crucial for them to have to experience the consequences of their addiction- otherwise, they will be unlikely to change.
Always take care of yourself first
The unfortunate reality is often times trying to help a loved one with alcoholism and/or addiction can take a heavy toll on our well being. Fortunately, there exist several groups to help family members, such as Al-anon and Nar-anon.
Always have a treatment center plan ready
Alcoholism and addiction is not something that one simply “grows out of”, or just a phase. The reality is that it is a chronic fatal illness that must be addressed with treatment. It is therefore crucial to always offer our loved ones the option of treatment for their disease.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.