Addiction is a serious issue that affects not only the person struggling with it but also their loved ones. When a family member is suffering from addiction, it can be challenging to know what to do or how to help. However, there are steps you can take to support them and encourage them to seek treatment.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
The first step in helping a family member with addiction is to educate yourself about addiction. Learn about the signs and symptoms of addiction, the effects it has on the body and mind, and the different types of treatment available. Understanding addiction can help you approach the situation with compassion and empathy, rather than judgment or frustration.
Talk to Your Family Member
It can be difficult to talk to a family member about their addiction, but it’s crucial to have an open and honest conversation. Express your concern and let them know how their addiction is affecting you and the family. Be supportive and offer to help them find treatment.
Offer Support and Encouragement
It’s essential to let your family member know that they have your support and encouragement. Be there for them, listen to them, and let them know that you believe in their ability to overcome their addiction. Avoid criticizing or blaming them, as this can make them feel defensive and resistant to seeking help.
While it’s important to offer support and encouragement, it’s also essential to set boundaries. Let your family member know what you will and will not tolerate, and stick to these boundaries. For example, you may decide not to provide them with money or enable their addiction in any way.
Encouraging your family member to seek treatment is critical for their recovery. Research different treatment options, such as therapy, support groups, and inpatient or outpatient rehab programs. Offer to help them find a treatment program that meets their needs and schedule.
Take Care of Yourself
Supporting a family member with addiction can be emotionally and physically draining. It’s essential to take care of yourself and prioritize your well-being. Take breaks when you need to, seek support from friends or a therapist, and practice self-care activities that help you manage stress.
Supporting a family member with addiction is a challenging process, but it’s also a crucial step in their recovery. By educating yourself about addiction, talking to your family member, offering support and encouragement, setting boundaries, encouraging treatment, and taking care of yourself, you can help your loved one overcome their addiction and live a healthy and fulfilling life.
Another thing that can be done in the meantime is to set boundaries. My mom, my sister, my kids, and everyone close to me had set boundaries with me where they quit giving me any type of financial assistance; including food, clothing, shelter, money, and anything else. They just kept encouraging me to contact people in active recovery to find some help. Those boundaries saved my life. Here’s a video of someone that had a similar experience:
And here’s another video about a family dealing with someone in addiction:
On another note – For the Medical Professional:
If you are a medical professional or even in the addiction field, I get that you’ve had specialized trauma informed training and some other trainings that may have to do with the addiction field. Even with all your specialized training, and maybe even lived experience, you’re still not going to be able to help a close family member. Mostly because the addiction tells the addict not to listen, and the addiction has an overwhelming pull on the person. The best thing to do is to turn them over to one of these others in active recovery that I already talked about. Let them take the drivers seat and work with the person that is still suffering in their addiction. It’s a tough thing to see a family member going through it all, especially with our specialized training – we may even begin to feel like we let them down or failed them in some way – but letting someone else ‘pick up the caseload’ will be the best thing for the person in active addiction.