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Loving an Addict: How to Help Them Heal

One of the most challenging facets of addiction is that the disease affects not only the person living with substance misuse issues, but also everyone around them. If you’re a family member or friend of a person with a drug or alcohol problem, you’re probably sad to see them on the verge of losing everything they care about to addiction. Here are some ways you can help them in recovery.

1. Do Your Homework

To understand what the addict in your life is going through and how you can benefit them most, educate yourself about their substance of use and the ways in which it affects them. Learn more about various treatment facilities and the different therapeutic approaches they use with their clients. This research will be helpful if you manage to convince your loved one to go to rehab.

2. Don’t Be Judgmental

Trying to shame an addicted person or blame them for what is happening might be tempting if you feel like you’ve reached the end of your rope, but these approaches are not constructive. Most people with a substance abuse disorder already feel a great deal of guilt over how their behavior has harmed themselves and others, and it doesn’t help when their friends and family members pile on extra. Instead, let them know that you are there to provide non-judgmental support anytime they need a listening ear.

3. Recognize the Difference Between Enabling and Helping

If your loved one never experiences any negative consequences of their destructive behavior because you do things like giving them money or lying on their behalf, you’ve crossed the border between helping and enabling. Many addicts won’t change until something forces them to realize they must. By making things easy for them, you are implying that there’s nothing wrong with what they’ve been doing.

4. Change Your Lifestyle

If you live with the addicted person, you may need to make some changes to your living environment to help encourage them to stay sober. If they agree to enter inpatient rehab, you’ll need to remove all alcohol and any drugs or drug paraphernalia from your home before the date of their discharge to remove temptations and help discourage a relapse.

5. Get Support for Yourself

You can’t be an effective helper for your loved one if you are failing to look after your essential needs. Caring for an addict can be stressful and create a great deal of strain in your life. You may even resent the person for causing so much tension and upheaval. It’s vital to remember you’re not alone. Many people have found themselves where you are, and have emerged stronger on the other side. By taking care of yourself through going to therapy and attending meetings of groups such as Al-Anon, you can get yourself the support you need.

Your Path to Wellness for a Loved One With Addiction

Addiction recovery is one of the most significant challenges someone can experience, but the support and compassion of loved ones like you will make it easier. If you’re worried about the behavior of someone important to you, reach out to us at Vista Taos. We are a nationally accredited addiction treatment center in New Mexico. Learn more about our admissions process here.

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