If someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to know how to help. It's important to remember that addiction is a complex disease that affects not only the person struggling with it, but also their family and friends. Here are seven tips for supporting a loved one who is dealing with an addiction.
Seek help for yourself.
It can be difficult to watch someone you love struggle with an addiction, and it's important to take care of yourself too. Consider joining a support group like SMART Recovery Friends & Family, which offers science-based support group meetings (both online and in person) for people affected by drugs, alcohol, or other addictions.
Avoid criticism and embarrassment. Criticizing or embarrassing a family member who is struggling with an addiction will not help them recover.
Instead, try to be compassionate and understanding.
Don't enable the addiction. It can be tempting to buy food, provide financial assistance, or pay rent for someone struggling with an addiction. However, this can actually prolong the illness by allowing them to avoid the consequences of their actions.
Consider family therapy. Family therapy can help family members learn how to better support their loved one during recovery from drug addiction.
Encourage professional help. Encouraging your loved one to seek professional help for their addiction is a positive step towards recovery.
An evaluation by an addiction professional can help determine the extent of the problem and identify appropriate treatment options.
Look into intervention services. An intervention can motivate someone to seek help for alcohol or drug misuse, compulsive eating, or other addictive behaviors. American Addiction Centers (AAC) can help you find the best drug and alcohol treatment centers near you and understand your options.
Be patient. Addiction is a complex disease that takes time to overcome. Be patient with your loved one and remember that recovery is possible.