Helping a Family Member or Loved One with Addiction

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is very much a family disease. When one person in the family dynamic is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, the entire system suffers from negative repercussions. Physical, mental, emotional and spiritual struggles are felt deep within the family dynamic, and the pain is only increased in those who wish there was something more that they could do to help a loved one or family member through their addiction.

Dealing with the underlying stress and grief that comes with daily interactions between a loved one that is suffering from addiction can feel overwhelming. But, feeding into the problem, or becoming involved in a situation in which you are enabling a loved one’s addiction is potentially dangerous both for you and for the individual. This is another one of the many burdens that makes helping a family member or loved one with addiction so challenging, heartbreaking, and overwhelming at times.

Offer Support

If you have a loved one or family member that’s struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol, your help could save their life. In order to get your loved one the help that they need, you’re going to need to step up and take control in helping them make the decision to seek treatment. Helping a loved one that is suffering from addiction is hard…but there are profound benefits that come from your encouragement and support in guiding them to recovery.

Avoid Enabling & Seek Support for Yourself

Equally important, is the fact that you have to help yourself. Family groups, such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon focus heavily on helping loved ones that struggle with family dynamics and addiction in their home. Additionally, many drug and alcohol treatment centers including SJRP provide family therapy and counseling to assist in the healing of the family and repairing the dynamics that are vital to a returning family member’s success in recovery.

The more that you’re aware of the support options available to you, and the potential for you to require support just as much as your loved one that is in active addiction does, the greater the potential will be for you to give strength and support to your loved one in need while providing equal grace and dignity for yourself in this recovery process, too.

Be the Voice of Reason

Remember, a loved one in active addiction is not thinking clearly. They may not see their addiction the way that you see it. They may not realize the changes in their behaviors or in their situation that you’re realizing. Drugs and alcohol cloud our judgement and mask our ability to see what’s right in front of us.

You can help your loved one by first educating yourself on addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression which often go hand-in-hand with substance abuse. Before you turn your back, give ultimatums, or otherwise find yourself with a slew of negative emotions toward your loved one, try to understand that addiction is a disease that they didn’t choose. Give yourself, and your loved one, some grace – nobody chooses to become an addict; nobody wants to be addicted to drugs or alcohol; and most people don’t wish harm or pain on their family members.

Do Not Lose Hope

Know that grief is a common feeling for loved ones when addiction is present. You may feel like you lost someone you love, even though they are not technically “gone.” Addiction robs us of the comforts and expectations we have for our loved ones, and the shell of the person that you love may have you feeling hopeless at any thought of restored faith in their recovery – but you cannot lose hope! While you may feel hopeless when a loved one is falling prey to active addiction right before your eyes, it’s important for you to recognize that YOU hold the key to helping your loved one achieve success in recovery – reinvest your negative energy into helping them get the help and support that they need.

At SJRP, a FL rehab center specializing in drug and alcohol addiction treatment, we are here to help your family member achieve recovery from addiction. Teaching family members how to combat grief, hopelessness, and past trauma that is present in the family system as a result of a loved one’s substance abuse is a key element of our recovery process. This is one of many ways that we help heal the family dynamic to encourage long term recovery for clients.

Additional Ways to Help a Family Member with Addiction

To help a loved one that is struggling with addiction, family members should:

  • Educate themselves on addiction. Remember, addiction is a disease, not a choice.
  • Learn more about drug and alcohol use, and the impact that substance abuse has on the user’s body and brain. Learn to recognize behaviors that are present because of active addiction and those that are normal, everyday patterns.
  • Listen to your loved one and don’t point fingers. An addict will quickly lose interest in talking to you if you’re not listening or if he or she feels like you are blaming them for their addiction.
  • Be prepared to accept that your loved one will most certainly be in denial and not see their substance abuse as “a big deal” or as “something they need treatment for.” If that’s the case, offer guidance and encouragement, and be supportive as you help them become more subjective to their problems and the lifestyle changes that their substance abuse has caused.
  • Consider staging an intervention. If denial persists and the addiction continues to spiral out of control, intervention may be the only viable solution to your loved one’s problem. A professional interventionist can help you and your other family members to encourage a loved one to seek help.
  • Offer to help your loved one find a treatment center that can help them overcome addiction. Your support could be the difference between whether your loved one goes into treatment or not.

Seek Professional Help

As humans, we tend to think we can tackle the world on our own – but sometimes we need the help of a professional. Our drug and alcohol rehab programs have the ability to help your loved one achieve sobriety when failed attempts or broken promises result in an understanding that recovery cannot be achieved on their own.

We realize how overwhelming it can be to look deep into the soul of your loved one and see an empty shell. But you’re not alone! If you’re feeling like you’re not sure where to turn or what to do to help your family member or loved one, give us a call at 833-397-3422. We can help you learn how to better support your loved one as he or she shifts from active addiction toward a path of healing and sobriety.