Addiction is a debilitating disease. When a loved one suffers from it, it can often be difficult for us to know how to handle it. We want to help him/her, but we don’t know what will work. If you are feeling lost dealing with a loved one’s disease, then you may want to consider these suggestions.
1 Encourage Seeking Help
As previously mentioned, addiction is a disease. Just like any other disease, it almost always requires professional medical attention. Try to do whatever you can to encourage your loved one to seek qualified help. When it comes to acquiring assistance with addiction, there are many different options. Choices range from treatment centers like Clear Recovery Treatment Center to programs like Alcoholics Anonymous.
Many times, before someone will hear what you have to say about their condition, they need to know that they can trust you and that you truly care about them. Proving your loyalty can be as easy as taking the time to listen to things from your loved one’s point of view. If they feel like you aren’t judging them and that you legitimately understand them, they will be much more likely to open up and listen to you.
3 Don’t Preach or Punish
Dealing with a loved one’s disease can be frustrating and difficult. However, try your best not to tell them what to do exclusively. Try not to focus on the negatives always. Consider basing your reactions around positive reinforcement. Instead of punishing them whenever they relapse, celebrate their achievements. When addicts feel you are preaching to them, they will likely tune out everything you have to say even if it might be helpful. Try always to be as positive and supportive as possible.
4 Understand That Addiction is a Disease
Whenever you feel yourself getting frustrated and angry at your loved one, remind yourself that their condition is not their fault. It is not a moral failing. Addiction is the result of brain chemistry, not conscious actions. Be patient. It is unlikely that they will listen to you and seek help for themselves immediately. However, with constant, gentle encouragement, they will likely change their behavior. It is also important to remember, as with any chronic illness, that there are good days and bad days. Some days your loved one may be fully on the road to recovery. Other days, they may experience a relapse. You need to realize that recovery is not perfectly linear.
5 Set Boundaries
Even though you care about those you love, you need to protect yourself as well. Understand that you cannot take on the fight for the addict. It is a decision that they must make for themselves. Be supportive of your loved one, but do not cover for their actions. Do not let them get away with treating you poorly. They need to learn to live with the consequences of their choices.
Unfortunately, addiction is a disease that touches millions of people’s lives each year. Even though it can be challenging to overcome, it is not impossible. Being there for your loved ones can help them to get through it. Do what you can to support those you love without ruining your own life along the way. It is highly recommended that you try to find a therapist with experience in helping people whose loved ones suffer from addiction. You need support just like your loved one does. If you get the support you need, you will be more likely to support your loved one in the way that they need.