How to Help a Loved One Dealing with Addiction
Loving someone who’s struggling in the grip of addiction is heartbreaking. All you want to do is help. But here’s the thing: there’s a thin and blurry line between helping and enabling an addict. And it’s extremely easy to end up on the wrong side of that line. That’s why experts in the field believe this is an important discussion to have. Here’s how to help a loved one dealing with addiction!
There’s no use trying to support a person dealing with addiction without understanding addiction itself. Once you know more about SUD, you can get information about how it is treated, learn about different treatment options for their addiction, learn how to approach your loved one about their addiction and encourage them to seek help.
Adjust your expectations
Don’t expect a single conversation to fix the problem. Addiction distorts the user’s reality. To them, lies often do not feel like lies, so be prepared for denial. Similarly, self-destruction feels like survival. So, excessive shaming and criticizing, lecturing, and alike won’t work either. Stop trying to find the switch – it doesn’t work like that.
Set healthy boundaries
Setting healthy boundaries is essential for both you and the addicted loved one. So, set them lovingly and as often as you feel the need to. Make the consequences of crossing those boundaries as clear as possible. And, finally, always follow through.
Let them make mistakes
Addicts are more likely to proactively seek professional help if they’re allowed to make mistakes without the promise of their supporter’s rescue. So, if you want to help a loved one dealing with addiction, let them reap what they sow.
Encourage them to seek help
Helping someone you love with their addiction may feel like one of the loneliest places in the world. But don’t forget that you’re not on your own. Encourage them to schedule a doctor’s appointment, a counseling session, or a peer support group meeting. Be optimistic and supportive, and emphasize that you will be there for them every step of the way.
Relapse isn’t a sign of failure. Naturally, you can always help them plan their best defense for relapse prevention. For instance, you can educate yourself about relapse prevention, learn how to identify high-risk behaviors and devise a plan for triggers and cravings.
Don’t fight their battles
Want to help a loved one dealing with addiction? You can love them and support them. However, you cannot fight their battles for them, no matter how much you might want to.
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