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5 Ways Your Family Can Help a Loved One Suffering From Addiction

Facing addiction is a crisis for the entire family. Addiction never affects just the addict. It affects everyone they communicate with regularly as well, particularly family. What can you and your family do to support a loved one facing their addiction? Here are 5 tips that could help you.

1. Get Educated

To properly help your loved one, it’s imperative that you understand their addiction. Different drugs affect addicts differently. By knowing exactly what drug(s) your loved one is having issues with, you can know have a better idea of what to expect as they fight their addiction and go through withdrawals. It’s also important you recognize that your loved one probably didn’t choose to become an addict, but fell into the lifestyle due to complex psychological factors that you might not be aware of.

2. Avoid Enabling

Many enabling behaviors seem innocuous at first. Letting your loved one live with you and continue to use may be how you express your love and support, but it actually makes it possible for them to sustain their drug addiction. It may seem harsh, but you cannot offer financial support or emotional approval to someone who continues to use. This isn’t about blaming or hating your loved one, though. Oftentimes, it’s the only way they’ll feel motivated to change their behavior.

3. Stage an Intervention

For many addicts, the moment where their family comes together and encourages them to seek help can be life-altering. When holding your intervention, make sure the meeting holds the addict responsible for their actions but avoids assigning blame or guilt. These emotions often only fuel an addict’s destructive behavior.

4. Help Yourself

Recovering from an addiction is a healing process for the whole family, and you can’t help anyone until you’ve helped yourself. The problem, however, is that processing these complex emotions can be difficult without support. That’s why many addiction treatment centers offer family packages that will help you work through your own feelings about your loved one’s addiction.

5. Establish Boundaries

It’s important to acknowledge how much you can responsibly be in your loved one’s life while they use, and create physical as well as emotional boundaries. Establishing and maintaining boundaries protects you and your family while also leaving the door open for your loved one when they want to begin recovery.

Protect Yourself

Supporting a loved one while they face their addiction is equal parts helping them and helping yourself. As you use the five guidelines above, remember that your feelings matter in this too, and you need to confront them if you’re going to help your loved one on the road to recovery.

Tim Esterdahl

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