How Can I Help a Loved One with Addiction?

How Can I Help a Loved One with Addiction?

It’s not always easy to love someone with an addiction. While you may intellectually understand that addiction is a brain disease and your loved one is not choosing to be an addict, the things they say and do can still take a toll on your physical, emotional and financial health.

While you can’t force someone to stop using or drinking, there are many ways to help your loved one get the help they need. It may not be easy, but taking these steps ensures you are not enabling the addict and making the habit worse.

Below, we’re going to talk about the ways you can help a person with addiction. But first, let’s talk a little bit about enabling so that you know how to recognize and avoid this unhealthy behavior.

What is Enabling? Why is it Destructive? 

“Helping” and “enabling” are two behaviors that sometimes get confused with one another. However, they are distinct, so it’s important to recognize the differences between the two.

In a nutshell, helping means to do something for someone who can’t do it for themselves. Enabling is doing something for someone who could and should be doing it for themselves.

As an example, let’s say that your 22-year-old daughter is abusing alcohol and prescription painkillers. She lives in your home, doesn’t work and doesn’t contribute. If you pay her way, you are enabling the addiction because she is capable of doing these things for herself.

On the other hand, if your daughter has special needs and is unable to work, allowing her to live with you is helping because she could not do these things on her own.

Now, you might be thinking in the first scenario, “But this person can’t work because they have a drug problem, so aren’t I helping?” Unfortunately, you’re enabling the addiction. In reality, addicts need consequences in order to motivate them to change.

Without the addiction, most addicts would be productive and self-sufficient. This is why the goal for families should be to get their loved one to accept substance abuse treatment in Phoenix. It may not come at a time when you want it to, so you will have to be patient and diligent.

How Can I Help Someone with an Addiction? 

With your support, your loved one has a greater chance of accepting help and getting the treatment they need. Continue to encourage sobriety – not the addiction. Here are some of the best ways to help someone with a substance abuse problem.

Educate yourself 

The first step is to educate yourself on addiction. Addiction is a disease that causes dysfunction in the brain. Most people start off with the normal experimentation that comes with adolescence and gradually grow dependent on drugs and alcohol.

It’s not clear why some people develop an addiction and others don’t, but it’s believed to be a combination of biological, psychological, social and environmental factors. When the right combination of factors come together, it creates the perfect storm. But, it’s important to understand that no one starts using drugs and alcohol to be an addict.

Find support groups in the area 

Support groups come in many forms, and they are available for addicts and the families of addicts. Find support groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon in your area – most are free and anonymous. It can be very comforting and helpful to talk about your situation and listen to others facing similar obstacles.

However, be aware that these groups are not meant to give advice. For suggestions that pertain to your specific situation, it’s best to speak with an addiction specialist, a counselor or another medical professional. Bottom line: Get support for yourself, too. It may seem counterintuitive, but It’s not just the addict that needs healing, but you as well.

two people holding hands

Avoid enabling

We touched on enabling earlier in this post, but we want to remind you of its importance. Enabling is easy to do, especially when you’re trying to “protect” your loved one from living on the street. Sadly, enabling only makes things worse and allows the addiction to go on longer and cause more damage.

Many times, people are not willing to change unless their lives are uncomfortable and they have “hit bottom.”  This means you have to avoid financially supporting your loved one, making excuses, bailing them out of jail and so forth. Your loved one needs to feel the effects of their addiction, and the only way this will happen is if you and your family avoid enabling. Here are some tips for setting healthy boundaries.

Establish trust 

If you want your loved one to respond well to you, it’s important to build trust. This can be difficult to do if this person has already betrayed you, but trust is a key component of a healthy relationship. To build trust, try not to:

  • Nag, criticize or lecture the person

  • Point fingers, blame or shame the person

  • Yell, put down or engage in name calling

  • Engage in addictive behaviors yourself

It takes time to establish trust, so be patient and remember that it’s a two-way street. You can’t force someone to trust you, and vice versa.

Practice good communication

Communication is another key factor in a healthy relationship. If you and your loved one always end up fighting, it’s clear that you have more work to do before confronting them. Ultimately, the decision to change is up to them, so you can’t force it. That said, you should be able to have healthy conversations regarding change and outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix.

Read up on treatment options 

Another helpful thing you can do is learn about the available treatment options. If you can present the person with their options in a non-confrontational manner, your loved one may be more willing to accept what you have to say.

For example, not everyone with an addiction needs to go away for an extended period of time to get help. An outpatient drug rehab in Phoenix, Arizona can be just as effective, and it’s far more affordable and flexible. With this program, clients can receive treatment while following a fairly normal routine. This is less intimidating and more practical for many.

Summary 

There are many ways to help someone with a substance abuse problem, but remember to be patient, as change can be slow and doesn’t happen overnight. What you can do is continue offering honest but loving feedback. This can spark change. When the person is ready to accept help, you’ll have a variety of outpatient drug and alcohol rehabs in Phoenix to choose from. In the meantime, be sure to seek personal help and practice good self-care.

To learn more about the convenient, holistic and affordable outpatient treatment programs at Continuum Recovery Center, please contact us today. We’re here to help!