How to Help Someone Struggling With Addiction
Watching a friend or a loved one battle addiction can be heartbreaking and difficult to accept. Seeing them struggle might make you want to take action and help them. Helping someone you love work through addiction is not an easy task, but it is extremely beneficial for them in their recovery process and in maintaining sobriety afterward.
While you can’t force someone to get treatment for their addiction or stop their drug or alcohol dependency, you can present them with options. You may understand how important living a drug-free lifestyle is to one’s health, but in their current state, they might not understand how the addiction is harming them, or may not want to seek treatment.
Knowing how to aid in their recovery that doesn’t cause an enabling or codependent relationship is important. Everyone experiences their own unique battles with substances, but there are general approaches you can use.
Educate Yourself on Addiction
It is hard to help someone get through something you do not know anything about. If you don’t know the signs of addiction, you won’t be aware of them when your loved one is struggling. Addiction is a very complex illness and it can be difficult to know where to begin helping someone through it.
Take time to research and learn about what this illness really consists of. Understanding addiction is beneficial for both you and your loved one. As you learn about this illness, it helps you separate the illness from the person. You will be able to see that the behaviors and issues that they are struggling with are caused by the substances and that they can be fixed with treatment and your help.
Encourage Them to Get Help
Addressing someone with addiction about needing help is a daunting task. You can’t predict how they will react or whether they will receive what you have to say well. Ignoring the situation will not help them, nor will simply allowing them to continue actions that are detrimental to their health and your relationship.
When you encourage them to get help, don’t belittle them or make them feel like they have done something wrong. Try speaking to a professional before you approach them to get advice on what steps to take when addressing the issue. You should find the most appropriate time and environment to sit down and have a conversation with them. Make sure that you are also mentally and emotionally prepared to speak with them.
Support Their Recovery Process
When your loved one decides to receive treatment, having you as a part of their support system will be of paramount importance. Recovery is not an easy process and the person receiving treatment must have trustworthy people to lean on. Support them as they go through inpatient or outpatient treatment and encourage them to try new things when they are ready to. You mustn’t enable them or cause them to become dependent on you through recovery. Creating healthy boundaries while still showing up for them also teaches them how to create healthy and meaningful relationships.
Have Realistic Expectations
Recovery is a process that will include many ups and downs. Understand that progress will likely take a long time as your loved one strives to truly heal from substance abuse. In the early stages of recovery, there may be promises broken, therapy sessions missed, and alarming actions. This does not mean that the person is not serious about changing or doesn’t care. Changing an entire lifestyle is not something that happens overnight. Expect mistakes and setbacks, but still hold them accountable and encourage them to keep going. Remember that mistakes are an opportunity to learn and are not to be met with anger.
Recovery does not end once treatment does. It is a lifelong process that will take much courage and strength from a person recovering and from the people involved. Early stages of recovery often come with periods of relapse.
Take Care of Yourself
You can’t help someone if you are neglecting your own well-being. Make sure you are taking care of yourself by meeting your daily needs. Get an adequate amount of sleep, eat well, spend time doing things you enjoy, and get the right help when you need it. Watching and caring for someone you love as they battle addiction can take a heavy toll. You may empathize with them and start to take on their problems as your own. Set boundaries early on that help you draw the lines for your involvement in their process. This will also help your loved one learn to respect boundaries, which is important for maintaining healthy relationships. There are also support groups and resources for people who are caring for someone with an addiction.
The role of support systems for someone experiencing substance abuse is very important in helping them overcome the addiction. Whether you are a family member, friend, spouse, or another form of support, watching your loved one struggle with substance use can be a difficult and even traumatic experience. Therefore, it is important that they have the proper support and care around them from the people closest to them. Mountain Peak Recovery is here to offer professional help through our trained staff for your loved one seeking addiction recovery. Our outpatient programs offer you the opportunity to still be involved with your loved ones and allow continuous support. Through our programs, we aim to help them live a drug- and alcohol-free lifestyle that best supports their goals. We believe that it is never too late to turn your life around. Call Mountain Peak Recovery at (801) 824-8829 to learn more information about our services.