Living with a loved one who is suffering immensely from substance abuse can be terrifying. It is therefore not uncommon for family members to feel helpless and not know what to do.
Addiction isn’t something that will go away easily but supporting them gives them their best chance of eventually changing for better. Believe in your relationship with the person and provide as much care and support to help them with it.
Though be sure you know that the burden is not only yours to bear. Be sure to get professional help, taking them to a place like The Addiction Recovery Centre might seem like the best option, but it is still the responsibility of family members to be part of the recovery process.
If you are willing to help out your loved one the following tips can help you set a pace for yourself.
- Educate Yourself.
The best way to understand what a family member is going through is by educating yourself and getting familiar with what they are facing.
For instance, it is not uncommon that people rely on drugs to try and relieve stress. As the stress builds up they are bound to rely on those drugs more and more so that they can get through the day. Drugs like alcohol are the most common they can be habit forming quite fast.
Eventually, when you get familiarised with what your family member is going through you can empathize with them. Do not judge them about the poor mistakes they have made.
- Draw boundary lines while being supportive
Bad decisions are bound to bring negative consequences. Supporting a family member is hard because you hold so much compassion for them. At the back of your mind, you want them to stop their bad behaviour but it is hard to draw boundaries.
Fortunately, as long as you are educated about what caused the addiction you can offer the right kind of support. This means you take a strong firm stand on particular lines in the sand and let the addict learn from their own mistakes.
This will be different for every situation, and could be something you decide upon in counseling.
- Have a balanced life.
An addict can affect the family balance. For example, if a parent is taking care of an addict who is their child they are bound to lose balance in their own lives. This is because they will have all their focus on the child.
The whole process of taking care of the addict should be shouldered by all family members. Moreover, members should learn to talk to each and discuss the challenges they are facing. This will help them keep each other on track.
Do take time out of your schedules though, to get out and get some fresh air and enjoy life every once in a while. Try and make it a scheduled event that you don’t miss for the world (You will be doing this for you and for the one you are caring for). They deserve your best and you won’t be at your best if you don’t get any rest.
- Encourage the affected family member to seek help.
One of the major problems addicts face is denial. The end up going in a downward spiral and fail to seek the right kind of help.
Family members can come together and research the right treatment that can help the addict. In the end, they can suggest the treatment in an amicable manner or do a full blown intervention. The addict should be talked to about his condition and made to understand the consequences.
As long as you offer support during the treatment process the journey is bound to be easier and more successful.
- Be open with them.
If you know that person well, you’d also know when the shift happens. Talking to them during that time won’t help either of the parties. Fix a time daily when you can open talk with them about their problem when they are sober. Make sure they know that you love them.
Ask them why they started doing drugs in the first to understand the root cause. Be positive but also set limits, so that they know what their boundaries are. The conversation doesn’t need to be very long, something that lasts only for five minutes or so will do that trick. Don’t get into an argument with them because they would starting taking more drugs only to get back at you.
- Don’t cover for their behavior.
Like alcoholism, there are some drugs that make you forget the things you did when you were high on drugs. If the person did something bad, don’t hide it from them. Anything bad might make them feel guilty and help them make sure it doesn’t happen.
On the other hand, good behavior will help them progress out of the addiction. Let’s say, the person is high and called in sick for work. Rather than supporting their behavior, you should push them to go to office.
- Don’t stand in way of law.
It is kind of sad but addicts usually try stealing expensive watches and gadgets to sell them off, so that they can buy more drugs. Don’t help the person to escape the consequences, no matter how you are capable of helping them out of jail.
Some time spent in a correctional facility may help them put their addiction behind and start a fresh life. It is definitely the ultimate intervention but if everything else that you’ve tried doesn’t work, legal is the way to go. The person will definitely be angry at you first but you have to stay firm and help them understand that it is for their best. When the person is in the correctional facility, visit them regularly, so that they know you genuinely care about them because the detoxification process is usually rough.