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How You Can Help Family Members Who Are Struggling With Addictions

In the blink of an eye, addiction can completely destroy a person’s life. It can hold sway over everything a person does, and it can take higher priority than the person’s work life, school life and even loved ones. Luckily, there are lots of ways you can help your family member who is struggling with addiction without enabling or making the problem any worse than it already is. These are five ways you can help your family member struggling with addiction.

Learn to Understand Addiction

The first basic of helping someone struggling with addiction is understanding how difficult it can be to leave the dependency behind. The process essentially begins with seeing addiction for what it is. Once drug/alcohol abuse transitions into full-blown addiction, the behavior is no longer the result of choice. It is a matter of survival for the addict. The addict might feel as though it’s impossible to stop using drugs or alcohol even though it might seem to you that it would be a simple feat.

Accept Your Role

It is not your job to “fix” your family member. If it was possible to do this, your family member would have recovered a very long time ago. Understand that you are the only person in this situation that you can control. It is your job to provide support and show your family member that you care about them.

Know When You’re Enabling Rather than Helping

You likely feel naturally inclined to help your family member as much as possible. It’s easy to remain under the assumption that, without your help, your family member would plummet into a much worse situation. Helping addicts by giving them a place to stay free of charge, giving them money, or giving food to them is nothing more than sheltering them from reality. This behavior is commonly referred to as “enabling.” If your help is facilitating the persistence of their negative behavior associated with their addiction, you are essentially enabling.

Offer Positive Help

The main objective is to resign yourself to the fact that your help will only be useful to your family member if it’s provided for a positive reason. For example, if your loved one needs transportation to a job interview or information about rehabilitation, your help is strongly warranted. Reserve your help for the positive wants and needs of your family member.

Encourage Rehabilitation

Lastly, in every possible situation, you should emphasize the importance of rehabilitation and recovery. Programs offered by facilities such as Focus Treatment Centers are well-equipped to handle alcohol and drug-related addictions. Always help your family member to understand what life can be like after addiction. You can’t make your loved one enter rehabilitation, but you can help them understand why it’s important to consider doing so. When your family member comes to a realization about the severity of his/her addiction, that is when recovery can truly begin.

Helping family members that are struggling with an addiction can be challenging. It’s important to offer support, but not so much that it enables the addiction. Be sure to get the help of professionals when it comes to helping others with serious addictions.

Tim Esterdahl

Tim Esterdahl is the editor of IFCS blog. He is a married father of three and enjoys golf in his spare time.

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