Before you talk to your loved one about treatment options, you need to approach them about the problem. It’s important that you don’t confront your loved one in a way that will cause an argument. It’s common for those abusing drugs to get angry and defensive easily, so you need to approach the situation with care. Fortunately, with your support, they have a greater chance of overcoming their addiction. Each situation is unique, but there are some general guidelines that will help you approach this task.
The challenge with addiction is that the addict is not the only one impacted by this disease. Family and friends can have difficulty with the addict’s behavior, financial problems, legal problems and the daily struggle of supporting a loved one.
You Need to Expect Difficulties
There are many reasons that helping someone you care about with their addiction can be difficult:
-They may not agree that they have a problem.
-They may not want to change what they are doing.
-They may fear consequences e.g., losing their job, going to prison.
-They may feel embarrassed, and not want to discuss it with you.
-They may feel awkward about discussing personal issues with a professional.
-They may be engaging in addiction as a way to avoid dealing with another problem that bothers them more.
There is no fast and easy way to help someone with an addiction. Overcoming addiction requires great willpower and determination, so if they do not want to change what they are doing, trying to persuade them to get help is unlikely to work. However, you can take steps that will help your loved one to make changes over the long term and will help you to cope with a loved one with an addiction.
Figuring out whether a substance use problem is mild, moderate, or severe (e.g. an addiction) should be the first step to getting someone help. Seeking out the help of a trained and qualified professional should be the first course of action. Often, if there is an issue identified, the administering professional will help in guiding you and to your loved one through the rest of the process, making it much simpler.
This can be hard to do if the addicted person has already betrayed your trust. However, establishing trust in both ways is an important first step in helping them to think about change. Trust is easily undermined, even when you are trying to help.
Get Help for Yourself First
Being in a relationship with a person who has an addiction is often stressful. Accepting that you are going through stress and need help managing it is an important step in helping your loved one, as well as yourself.
Although you may feel tempted to let your loved one know that their addiction is a problem and that they need to change, the decision to change is theirs. They are much more likely to be open to thinking about change if you communicate honestly but in a way that does not threaten your loved one.
The Treatment Process
The treatment process will vary according to the kind of treatment your friend or relative is getting.
Have Realistic Expectations
Don’t preach or lecture to the addict. They are usually unable to hear what you are saying. Continue to hold them accountable to expectations and offer help to direct them to the treatment they need. Don’t expect addicts to keep promises, they are not able to do so while in the process of their disease. Don’t react with pity or anger. This only keeps you in the process with the addict.
Take Care of Yourself
Focusing on your own life is the most important thing you can do to assist the addict. If you are stressed out due to their issues, in addition to your own, it creates resentment and strain. It makes it difficult to want to help someone who has created so much difficulty in your life. By taking care of yourself through exercising, getting plenty of sleep, socializing and getting support, you may be better able to help your loved one when they are ready to accept the help.
The more you know about addiction and the treatment options that exist for the disease, the more help you can be to your friend or loved one that is struggling. It is fine to contact treatment professionals or centers in your area or to reach out for help. The more you know, the better equipped you are to support your friend or loved one. As a friend or loved one, you can play an important role in helping someone get the support they need to overcome their substance use disorder. You should never think that you can solve the problem alone, and you should always seek out the support and guidance of a professional. Recovery from addiction is a process, not a destination. The most important thing to remember is that you aren’t alone. Many people battle with these issues every day and it is vital to get the resources and support you need.