Addiction is undoubtedly one of the most intimidating topics to discuss, especially when it’s affecting someone that we love. In fact, many of us may try to make excuses for a loved one’s behavior simply because dealing with that reality can be very scary. But we can, indeed, help deal with it. Here are realistic steps we can take to help the addicts in our life.
Spot the signs
How do you know when someone is truly dealing with an addiction? Learning the signs pointing to it while avoiding jumping to unnecessary conclusions are number one. Some of the major symptoms of substance abuse include missing their responsibilities due to a substance. If substance use is affecting their safety, such as leading to drinking and driving, then that’s another reason to step in. For the increasingly common problem of pain medication addiction, if you see them taking that medicine more and more frequently, it may be time to raise your concerns.
Talking about the subject
If someone is defensive, or even aggressive, when the topic of addiction comes up, it can it more difficult. However, this can lead some to become more aggressive, attempting to give a “wake up call”, but sometimes this can only lead to more defensiveness. Instead, compassion, kindness, and keeping their wellbeing as the primary theme of the conversation is the best way to stage an intervention. You can’t be inconsistent, playing good cop and bad cop with them. Always ensure that it comes from a place of love above all else.
Helping them get help
Just as broaching the subject can be intimidating for you, looking at the different methods of actively treating the condition can be intimidating for a loved one fighting addiction, too. Helping your loved ones look at different resources and options, such as counseling, support groups, and non 12 step rehab programs, can show them that the path to recovery doesn’t have to look the same as what they might fear. You can do your research and be honest about what they should expect from the treatment, helping them get closer to making a decision without pushing them in any direction.
Support is key
You can’t fight the battle against addiction for a loved one. However, you can provide the support structure that is key, in many cases. People are more likely to relapse without friends or family actively involve in their lives. Making a commitment to supporting them is crucial, but also be aware of your own safety and wellbeing. Most important is that you support the healthy changes that have to be made to help their road to recovery, even if you don’t like them. For instance, only visiting them periodically or learning about your own enabling behaviors can be troubling, but if you’re serious about helping them recover, you have to play your part.
The road to recovery is far from straightforward, but you can help a loved one make the first step on that road. Just make sure to practice some self-care, too. It’s no good trying to sacrifice yourself.