Addiction is one of the most prominent healthcare problems of our time. Since 1999, the rise in substance abuse in the United States and around the entire world has proven difficult to combat. Despite the awareness that we have of addiction, nowadays, there is still nothing that can prepare you for the shock of finding that someone whom you love is currently addicted to an illicit substance.
Supporting an addict is no easy task, and it is something that not everyone has the endurance to go through. Not only does addiction have a profound effect on addicts, but it can drain the life out of the people around them. Regardless, most people want to do what they can to help their loved ones conquer addiction and live a fulfilling life. To help in that endeavor, here are some tips on what to do when a loved one suffers from addiction…
Get them help
Addiction isn’t something that you can talk away. A single conversation isn’t going to rid it from your loved one or your lives. Addiction is a deeply rooted psychological problem and a behavioral disease. As such, it is something that necessitates professional help.
Addiction treatment centers are full of people who have devoted their lives to helping addicts get on the path towards recovery, and are trained in techniques that help empower addicts to gain control in their lives. First and foremost, getting your loved one into treatment should always be a primary goal. For more information about how to do that, check out this informative article here.
Educate yourself on addiction
In the famous book Sun Tzu’s Art of War, the eponymous Chinese general states that you need to know your enemy, inside and out. As such, in order to best help your loved one combat addiction, you need to know what you are both facing, when it comes to addiction. One reason that addiction education is so important is the misconception that addiction is a personality flaw that someone can merely stop doing. Addiction is a behavioral disease that affects a person on a mental and physical level. Educating yourself on things that can make addiction worse, or lessen its effects, is essential to help your loved one get through this fight.
Don’t alienate them
If you truly want to help your loved one overcome addiction, then you need to realize that you are both partners in this fight. One common mistake that people make is believing that you can shame an addict into changing their actions, and that this will coerce them into foregoing addiction. However, shame usually has the adverse effect on an addict, and will only serve to alienate them from the very people who want to help them. Typically, when they feel like there is nowhere to go, this is the environment in which addiction thrives. Don’t alienate the people you love with these sorts of tactics.
Set limits for yourself
As stated above, you don’t want to alienate a loved one when they are struggling with addiction. However, this doesn’t mean that you can’t have your own boundaries and limits that need to be respected. Because addiction is a behavioral disease, there is often an association with other types of behavior, such as lying or stealing. The truth is that nobody can continuously take deceptive behavior without feeling overwhelmed. Be upfront with your loved one about what your limits are, and don’t be afraid to uphold an ultimatum if it is what you need to stay sane, no matter how much it hurts.
Interventions may be necessary
This may seem like an enormous cliche, but interventions work. At the end of the day, if your loved one continues their addictive behavior without getting help, then it is unlikely that it will ever stop. During times like these, they need something direct to let them know that their behaviors are hurting themselves and the people around them. An intervention is a clear and obvious way for family and friends to be honest and tell everyone how they truly feel. Although interventions can be frightening, and it will almost certainly be awkward, they are necessary to save the lives of the people who we love.
By Guest-Alek S.