How to Help an Addict
If someone you care about is struggling with an addiction to alcohol or drugs, it’s only natural for you to worry about them and want to play a role in their recovery. However, it isn’t always easy to know how to help an addict. You may feel overwhelmed and have no idea where to begin such a long and challenging journey. Here are our top tips to make the process feel more manageable.
1. Hold an Intervention
It’s common for friends and family members to encourage an addicted loved one to seek qualified treatment to help them make a fresh start. Many addicts are in denial about the fact that their behavior is out of control, and they may claim they don’t need to go to rehab because, deep down, they’re afraid to change. A carefully staged substance abuse intervention can help convince someone to enter a treatment facility if all participants can convey they love the addict and have their best interests at heart.
2. Be Patient
As much as you might wish there were, there is no overnight solution for addiction. After completing a program that includes medical detoxification and inpatient treatment, your loved one’s work to heal physically and mentally is only beginning. If you’re working to understand how to help an addict, it’s essential for you to commit to being supportive for the long haul. Your love and understanding can help the addict in your life stay motivated and focused on their goals.
3. Learn More About Addiction and Recovery
Addiction is a complex illness. Because of how substance abuse affects the brain, recovery can be one of the most significant challenges in many people’s lives. One of the best ways to be there for someone you care about is to educate yourself on the multifaceted nature of addiction and recovery, such as how the disease affects them physically and psychologically. The more you know, the easier it will be for you to support a recovering addict.
4. Separate the Addict From Their Behavior
Addiction is a test for even the strongest relationships. As the addiction takes hold and becomes the chief priority in someone’s life, their personality might change to such a degree that you feel you no longer recognize who they’ve become. It’s understandable to feel hurt, confused and angry about the consequences of your loved one’s disease, but don’t lose sight of the fact that addiction doesn’t define them. The person you care about is still there, and part of knowing how to help an addict involves fighting alongside them as they regain their health and happiness.
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
One mistake many people make is in enabling addicted loved ones. While you might think you’re “helping” by taking over their responsibilities, lending them money or apologizing on their behalf, you’re protecting them from experiencing any negative consequences of their actions, thus allowing the addiction to worsen. Though it will be hard for you, you need to have a heart-to-heart about what behavior you won’t tolerate, and what will happen if your loved one oversteps those boundaries. Once you commit to it, don’t cave in or go back on your word.
6. Take Time for Yourself
Loving an addict can be stressful and emotionally draining. It’s impossible for you to be the support system your spouse, friend or family member needs if you aren’t carving out time for self-care activities like attending therapy, meditating, exercising or doing yoga. You may also wish to attend the regular meetings of a group such as Al-Anon, where you will find a fellowship of people who have experienced many of the same challenges you have.
Fighting Back Against Addiction
Nobody ever said the recovery process was easy, but don’t give up hope. You have plenty of reasons to try to save the life of someone you care about by encouraging them to seek professional help and being there for them through the ups and downs of recovery. If you’re looking for an ideal environment for a loved one to break free from the chains of addiction, start by reaching out to us at Beach House. Our admissions counselors are here to speak with you 24/7.