What Do You Do When Someone You Love Is Addicted?
They say addiction changes people. That’s true, but for those who have a loved one battling addiction, it’s not easy to watch the changes that take place. If you love a person who has an addiction, treat them the same way you would if they had any other illness. At the same time, protect and care for yourself. Know what you can and cannot do to help them.
For family and friends of someone who is struggling with addiction, it’s critical to face reality. Addiction is a progressive and chronic condition that grows worse without help. It’s not going to get better on its own, even if your loved one says things will change. Most people with addiction require treatment in a professional setting to have a chance at long-term sobriety.
Without treatment, their health may fail, they could suffer an overdose, and their relationships and work will suffer. Recognize that getting them help is a priority.
Tell Them What You’re Feeling
Confront your loved one about what you see and any symptoms of addiction you’ve witnessed. Be specific about events or occurrences that helped you realize they need help for addiction. Encourage them to get help without accusing them of doing something wrong or letting you down. Instead, explain that you believe they need treatment and that you’ll be there for them.
Remember these things:
- Don’t threaten your loved one that you’ll leave if they keep using unless you are fully prepared and willing to do so.
- Provide support that’s appropriate. Don’t give them money to pay the rent or make excuses for them for being late to work.
- Be honest and upfront about what you want without letting your emotions lead you into sarcasm or manipulative tactics. Make it hard for your loved one to deny that you’re trying to help.
Be ready with help when they ask for it. For example, if you contact our drug and alcohol treatment center before you approach your loved one, we can help you determine if they can come to us for treatment. To the best of your ability, arrange treatment ahead of time.
Set Boundaries So You Can Love Them
Boundaries can help you continue to love someone struggling with addiction. For example, tell them what you’re willing to do and not do when they are high or intoxicated. You may no longer allow them to sleep on your couch, but you will take them to a meeting.
Setting boundaries allows you to protect yourself from heartbreak and puts your loved one in charge of the situation. If they want to be a part of your life, they know what they have to do. At the same time, you can protect yourself from watching them suffer.
Stop Blaming Yourself or Anyone Else
Addiction doesn’t happen because someone made a mistake or didn’t do enough. It occurs because of the chemical change that happens in the brain when a person uses a substance. It can happen to anyone. Blaming yourself for the onset of addiction or “allowing them to get like this” isn’t productive in any way. It may even create guilt and frustration in your loved one so much that they resort to using more to deal with that pain.
Instead of blaming and looking back, focus on the future with your loved one. Create plans for your life together. Focus on what it means to recover. Blame doesn’t take away what’s happening, but it can drive a wedge between you and your loved one and their willingness to get into treatment.
Know When You Need to Leave
No matter how much you love a person, they may need to lose you before they realize it’s time for change. Sometimes, your presence will only worsen the situation, for yourself or for them. If you or others in the home are at risk for abuse of any type, it’s time to leave.
Consider your own mental health as well. You may need to step into therapy to help yourself overcome the pain and trauma of what you’re experiencing as you watch your loved one struggle. It’s definitely hard to do. Sometimes leaving is enough to force a person to realize they have to do the work to change, and that means getting help.
Let Us Help You to Help Your Loved One
Our team is here to support you as you continue to help your loved one with addiction. With family therapy programs, we can help you know how to help them while also doing your own work on yourself. Our comprehensive drug and alcohol treatment center in Lafayette, LA, is readily available to support you and your loved one on the path to long-term recovery. Contact us today to learn more about the treatment options available.
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