Watching your loved one struggle with addiction is complicated and can leave you feeling helpless. While you might feel overwhelmed by all of your emotions surrounding your loved one and their addiction, it is essential to remember that not all hope is lost. Help and recovery is always an option for your loved one, and there are ways in which you can help them along the way. You might be wondering where to start and how to approach the subject. While there are no set guidelines, there are specific dos and don'ts that can help you and your loved one handle their addiction.
If you have never struggled with an alcohol or drug addiction, you might be misinformed about addiction and how it affects a person. Since there are so many stigmas, many view addiction as a selfish and impulsive act and often blame the one struggling for their behavior and situation. However, this could not be further from the truth.
Addiction is a brain disease that disrupts brain regions responsible for reward, motivation, learning, judgment, and memory. Although you might become frustrated and even angry with your loved one, understand that their behavior is not who they are; instead, it's a chemical imbalance within the brain. Knowing this can help you attain more understanding and patience. Getting your information from reliable sources such as the NIAAA, NIDA, SAMHSA, and the NCBI will provide you with quality and up-to-date information based on scientific and sociological research.
Address the Issue
Ignoring the issue will not make it go away. Confronting your loved one about addiction can be intimidating, but this is a meaningful conversation you must have. If you worry about pushing your loved ones away or upsetting them, it is always best to prepare. Seeking professional help before you confront your loved one is the right approach, especially if you feel uncomfortable.
START UP Recovery can connect you with the professionals you're seeking to help you establish a plan to address your loved one's addiction. A professional can also help mediate your conversation to help keep open communication lines and alleviate any tensions or frustrations that might be running high. It is essential to remain calm and open during the conversation. The main goal is to let your loved ones know that you love them and that you are here to help.
While love and support are essential in helping anybody, you will want to be careful what kind of support you are giving. It is easy to cross the line between helping and enabling when it comes to addiction. The idea of recovery is to help your loved one become more independent and self-sufficient; this includes finding work, providing for themselves, and transitioning into a stable living environment that they can sustain. Providing them a place to stay, paying their bills, and running errands can create a bad relationship of dependency and, therefore, enable your loved ones to become unmotivated to keep working on themselves. While it might be challenging, you do not want to allow them to continue to abuse substances. Try to mind your behavior and ask if what you're doing is helping or enabling.
Setting boundaries is a crucial aspect of ensuring your well-being and your loved one's well-being. Such limitations include not allowing your loved one to drink around you, setting curfews if they currently live with you, and refusing to bail them out of any legal trouble. The most important thing to remember when setting a boundary is to stick to it. Follow-through is essential - it builds respect and encourages your loved ones to change their behaviors.
Boundaries are also in place to help protect you and your loved one. They help strengthen the trust you have in your relationship and help your loved one become more accountable and empowered.
Follow-through with boundaries also shows your loved ones that you believe in them and will not give up. The last thing your loved one needs is to sense or hear that you don't believe in them. Battling addiction is hard, but it is not impossible when you support your loved one with persistence and confidence.
It can become easy to forget about your health and well-being when caring for another. However, addiction is a family disease, and though you might not realize it, their disease also takes a toll on you. Taking time to practice self-care is essential in helping you feel relaxed, refreshed, and balanced. You might enjoy some healthy time reading, meditating, exercising, or hiking. It is also okay for you to reach out for help. Seeking therapy or counseling to talk through your emotions can be a great way to help strengthen your self-confidence and become more of a pillar of support for your loved one. Remember, you cannot help others if you cannot help yourself. The happier and healthier you are, the more you will provide help for another.
Helping a loved one struggling with addiction is never easy, but being willing to support them is a step in the right direction. However intimidating, there are ways in which you can seek help to prepare before you confront your loved one. Understand that it is ultimately up to your loved one whether they want help from you or a professional. Though it might be heartbreaking, you are not responsible for their behaviors and actions; all you can do is offer them love and support when they do decide to get help. At START UP Recovery, we work with individuals and their families, providing professional care and options to help you strengthen relationships with you and your loved one. Our priority is to help people realize their strengths and move toward attaining their highest successes personally and professionally. Change cannot happen without transformation. To learn more about START UP Recovery and what we're all about, call (310) 773-3809 today.