How To Help A Drug Addict Family Member,
Watching a family member or loved one struggling with addiction is one of the most painful things that any person can have to go through. The dishonesty and broken trust, the uncertainty of how to approach the person that they care so much for, the fear that each passing moment may be their last – these struggles are part of daily life for a person who is affected by a loved one’s substance abuse. As hard as it might be, we can never give up on those that we love. We have to show them that we care about them and only want what is best for them. We must encourage them to get the help that they need to overcome their addiction, and give them unconditional support in their recovery. Of all of the difficult aspects of dealing with a loved one that is having problems with drugs or alcohol, perhaps the hardest part is in knowing how to confront them in a positive and effective manner.
“Sometimes, that can be scary for people, because you don’t know how they are going to react,” says Dolly H., a patient at Best Drug Rehabilitation whose family convinced her that she needed help with her addiction. “Getting here, a lot had to do with my family, them telling me ‘You’ve got strained relationships. You’ve turned into something that you’re just not.’ I made the decision at that point that I needed to get help.” When Dolly’s family confronted her about the problems that they were seeing, and the effects that her addiction was having on them, it opened her eyes to how bad things had gotten. Yet, voicing their concerns about her choices helped Dolly to realize that they cared about her and that she had the love and support that she needed to get through it. “They saved my life. I won’t be able to repay that. The only way I can do that is by staying sober. Show them that what they did saved me.”
Sometimes, a person who is struggling with addiction will respond negatively, or avoid the issue. It may be that they are in denial, or perhaps they realize that they have a problem but think that they can address without any help. “She had a bag packed for me, and said ‘Hey, you’re going to rehab’,” Isaac W. says about his wife’s insistence that he come to BDR. “I was like ‘No, no I’m not. What are you talking about?’ I know I had a problem, but it was something that I thought I could handle on my own.” His wife, along with his sisters, didn’t relent, and after speaking with one of our intake coordinators, Isaac agreed to come to our recovery center. “It’s tough love. If you really care, you can’t just watch them slowly kill themselves.”
Michelle, one of the counselors at Best Drug Rehabilitation, gives advice on how to approach a loved one struggling with addiction. “Be open and admit that you know that there’s an issue, and not be judgmental,” she says. “Sometimes that’s really difficult. However, the guilt and shame is already there, and when they feel judged it often creates that fight-or-flight even worse.” Without a doubt, confronting someone that you care about who is having a problem with substance abuse is a tricky situation, and going about it the wrong way can sometimes make things worse. But, we cannot give up on those that we love. By showing them that you care about what happens to them and that you want to see them get better, we can give them strength and hope to work towards a happier, healthier, and more positive lifestyle.
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