Addiction isn’t a self-contained disease that affects only the person with the potential diagnosis. It causes shock waves throughout their lives that can be felt in their personal relationships, financial security, work life while greatly impacting someone’s physical and mental health. If you suspect someone you know is going through this, you likely want to help them and offer a support system of some kind.
People who are in the throes of alcohol abuse or drug use often meet this concern with resentment or denial, but understand that is the nature of the disease. The best way to help them is to remain positive and gently encourage them to seek professional help while presenting various treatment options should they be receptive to addiction recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
It can be emotionally and physically draining to try to help someone suffering from a substance use disorder. As such, you need to remember that to truly help someone, you need to be taking care of your own physical, mental and behavioral health. Addiction demonstrates a lack of self-care, and if you’re in that same boat, it will be too much of a strain on you. Self-care isn’t selfish; it’s a process we all need to practice consciously every day. You doing this for yourself can set a good example for your addicted loved one as they work through their drug treatment program.
The old-fashioned view is that tough love is the best way to engender change in someone else. It’s now generally accepted that this can be counterproductive. Kindness and understanding can be some of the most motivating factors in bringing on a positive change in someone else. When you show compassion, they’ll feel more compelled to open up and share how they feel. This dialogue gives you the chance to encourage them to seek an addiction treatment program.
Try to Help Them Minimize Guilt and Shame
Guilt, shame and anger are driving forces that can lead people to use drugs in the first place. Negative judgments and moralizing from friends and family members can increase the stress they feel and drive them further into their addiction.
It’s completely normal to react to hurtful things they have said and done, but we’d recommend venting this to a support group, such as al-anon, or a close confidante who will let you speak without judgment. You could also call an addiction specialist and seek their advice.
While there is no cure for addiction, and recovery can be a long and challenging process with relapse and obstacles along the way, remember that it can be treated. Focus on the positive and try to help your loved one to remain in tune with the good things in their life. Hope and the desire to change are the catalysts for recovery from alcohol addiction or drug abuse, so keep that dream alive!
Stage an Intervention for Substance Abuse
In many cases, it can be difficult for one person to help another person to make a change. When the person you care about won’t respond to your suggestions that they should think about rehab, we’d recommend staging an intervention. This involves getting together a group of the people closest to the sufferer and having each write a compassionate letter about how much each person cares about them and wants to see them get better. If you are interested in having someone guide you through the process of helping a person into detox and rehab, you might consider contacting an interventionist. They are experienced when it comes to dealing with an addicted person’s mood swings particularly when that person is confronted with rehab.
For more advice about staging an intervention to help someone you care about to begin the recovery process of overcoming addiction, call the Valley Recovery Center helpline today at 866-986-2486.