There’s no denying that finding out your family member has an addiction can be both terrifying and shocking. It’s an experience that often feels surreal — but you play a direct role in your loved one’s health and recovery. For many individuals, their family’s support makes a substantial difference in how they overcome their substance abuse.
That’s where you can help. With your assistance, your loved one can make strides in their recovery. Here are a few ideas to help you help your family member.
1. Educate Yourself on the Subject
It’s important to note that addiction doesn’t always affect people in the same way. Therefore, you should educate yourself on the situation so you can better understand how to help. There are endless resources online to give you more information and insight.
Be sure to stick to authoritative websites backed by scientific and government research. Not everything you read about addiction on the internet will be accurate. It’s also beneficial to check for updated sources, as treatments for addiction can develop and improve over time.
If you’re unsure whether your loved one has a substance abuse issue, you should look into the signs and symptoms before jumping to conclusions. This way, you can pinpoint certain hints that help you identify the specific addiction. That’s how you’ll figure out how to help.
2. Have a Talk With Your Loved One
Most people feel hesitant to talk to their addicted family member about the problem. If you’re nervous that your loved one might react negatively, you may be surprised to know that the opposite can happen. These discussions can actually be productive.
There are times when addicted individuals don’t even realize they’re addicted. That’s when you can intervene. Before you bring up the topic to your loved one, you should remember a few points.
- Be sure you and everyone else are sober.
- Emphasize that you care for your loved one’s well-being.
- Make the conversation a back-and-forth dialogue rather than a lecture.
- Don’t judge your family member.
- Ready yourself for the long haul.
To ensure the discussion plays out in the correct manner, you must avoid accusatory language. Instead, you should try to use “I” statements that ensure the individual doesn’t feel attacked or criticized. Aim to be both honest and delicate. This way, your talk will be helpful.
If you feel like your loved one needs an official intervention, you should have a professional lead the conversation. These are serious situations where expertise matters in determining the outcome. Plus, you’ll want to consult other friends and family for added support.
3. Look Into Professional Help
Keep in mind that not everyone with a substance abuse issue can quit by themselves. That’s when you’ll need to seek professional help for your loved one. Fortunately, you can consult various options.
Consider what rehabilitation centers are available in your community. These organizations can vary in how they treat patients, so you’ll want to explore each one before deciding. It may help to consult a health professional who can help you find the best fit.
Further, your loved one may benefit from a support group. Though your assistance as a family member helps, you may not be familiar with addiction. If they have a way to connect with people who’ve recovered from substance abuse, they can work toward a drug-free life.
4. Set Boundaries and Expectations
As your loved one works toward recovery, you should put boundaries and expectations in place to ensure you don’t enable them. There might be times when your family member asks for money or exhibits dangerous behavior. That’s when you have to stay strong.
Always be ready to offer your loved one help and support. But when they cross the lines you’ve set, you should prepare to remove yourself from the situation to protect yourself and your other family members. This scenario will be difficult. However, you can’t let certain behavior slide, especially when it puts your family’s safety or welfare at risk.
Hopefully, your loved one will learn to respect your limits, and they’ll work to get help.
5. Don’t Forget About Your Well-Being
When your family member has a substance abuse issue, you feel numerous repercussions yourself. These effects depend on your family’s structure — but for the most part, addiction can impact everyone involved, not just the individual. That’s why you have to remember your health.
Throughout the time your loved one has an addiction, you’ll want to prioritize your well-being as much as theirs. After all, you can only be a strong support system when you’re at your best. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a therapist or psychiatrist to help you deal with your emotions.
Help Your Loved One With Substance Abuse With These Tactics
It’s never easy to deal with a situation where your family member has a substance abuse issue. There are various hurdles between them and recovery — but your support makes all the difference. If you stand by their side, you can help your loved one thrive. While many unknowns exist, you can be their light in an otherwise dark time.