When a friend or loved one is suffering from an addiction, family members often suffer right alongside them. Because families are usually close to the addict, they have the opportunity to intervene and help the individual in a way medical and psychological professionals don’t.
But where to begin? How are you—as a family member of someone with drug addiction—supposed to help them? And what about your own well-being? This article will focus both on avenues individuals can take to help their loved one and on ways to create and maintain support for families of addicts.
It’s important to have at least some knowledge of the drug your family member is addicted to, how that addiction is going to manifest, and ways in which it can be treated. The more you know, the more likely you are to figure out ways you can help them.
There is a great deal of research being conducted around the world on drug addictions and their effects. The more knowledge we have in general, the more likely viable treatments will be developed.
Once you have a firm understanding of the drug addiction in question, the next necessary step is recognizing that you’ll likely be abused at times. Addicts often use and abuse family members in an effort to keep their addiction satisfied. This can look like a myriad of behaviors, including theft or dishonesty.
Emotional abuse is often very common. An addict’s first priority is to his or her addiction. It’s likely that family relationships and ties will be used and manipulated to get them what they want. As harsh as it may sound, the person you knew before the addiction took hold has changed. And until they get the proper treatment for their addiction, you should watch out for abusive behaviors.
Getting the local authorities involved is sometimes a necessary step. Don’t hesitate to do so if you feel the need to.
There are many families who struggle with addicted loved ones. You don’t have to take on your particular situation alone. Reach out to your community, talk with friends or neighbors, or consider looking into programs like Alateen or AI-Anon.
These programs are designed in part to teach families of addicts how to deal with their situation. They do this by providing a safe space for families of addicts to discuss and talk openly about the challenges they are facing.
Therapy is a great tool. It can help families and individuals dealing with addicted loved ones cope with their emotions and provide them with techniques to handle tough situations.
The same goes for individual therapy. Get the help you need so that you can better help love and lift your family as you go through this difficult time.
When possible, communication with your loved one is crucial, though we do understand that that might be difficult given the state of mind your family member may be in.
Whether you’re staging an intervention to discuss the drug addiction for the first time, or talking about it for the tenth or twentieth or hundredth time, keeping the lines of communication as open as possible will only help.
Do as much as you can to strengthen your bonds and closeness as a family. Having an addict in the family affects the entire group. Doing things together as a family can help heal everyone.
Try making meals together and sitting down and eating them as a family. Have game nights. Go out to a fun sporting event. Each group’s situation will be unique, so do whatever you can to create time and space to exist together as a family.
Self-care is vitally important. Addicts need lots of time and attention, but be careful to not pour your entire self into helping your loved one. Like we mentioned above with abusive situations, you’re going to need to set boundaries.
Some of these boundaries can be self-care time. Do whatever makes you happy for a set amount of time weekly, daily, monthly, whatever works best for you. Make sure you get regular exercise. Work on a painting. Go to the shooting range. Cultivate your habits and hobbies.
Consider Steps Recovery Centers as the Utah rehabilitation center for your family member. Contact us today for information about our rehabilitation programs, and our help for family members of drug addicts.