Watching a loved one struggle with addiction is stressful and painful. It’s very difficult to understand addictive behavior if you’ve never experienced it personally. Watching someone you love slowly self-destruct is hard. If you’re in this position, here are some ways to deal with it.
The most important thing is to stay safe. If your loved one’s behavior is erratic, unpredictable, or violent, don’t let her stay with you. Also, don’t let her bring around friends who might be dangerous. Change the locks or call the police if you have to.
Learn about addiction.
The more you know about addiction in general and about your loved one’s addiction in particular, the better you will be able to help. Learn about the effects of the substances she uses and try to understand what drives addiction. Learn about treatment options so you will be better prepared to help her when she’s ready.
We all want to help the people we care about, but sometimes what we think is helping is actually enabling. Enabling is any sort of help that lets the addiction continue. That could mean lying to protect your loved one, taking care of her responsibilities, or paying her bills when she’s spent all her money on substances. Instead, focus on doing what you can to get her into treatment.
This doesn’t have to be anything as dramatic as an intervention like you see on TV, although it may come to that eventually. Start by expressing your concern about her substance use. Listen to what she has to say and do your best to understand. Try to stay open minded and don’t judge. People struggling with addiction often feel enough self-loathing without their loved ones piling on. Speak from a place of empathy and support and listen more than you speak.
Take care of yourself.
Battling addiction is a long process. There are ups and downs, moments of hope and disappointment. You have to take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep. Eat healthy and get some exercise. You can’t help as much if you’re sick and tired.
It’s important to have social support when you have an addicted loved one. Spend time with supportive friends. You might also consider attending Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings so you can connect with others who are going through the same experience.
See a therapist.
Many people with an addicted loved one struggle emotionally. Parents may feel guilty about having a child who struggles with addiction. A therapist can help you work through these feelings and find healthy ways to cope. It’s also a good idea to consider family therapy. It’s often said that addiction is a family disease. A healthier family environment can help your addicted loved one even if she decides not to participate.
If you’re struggling with substance use, Recovery Ways can help. We offer intensive outpatient treatment as well as residential treatment. Recovery Ways is a premier drug and alcohol addiction treatment facility located in Salt Lake City, Utah. Our mission is to provide the most cost-effective, accessible substance abuse treatment to as many people as possible. Request information online or call us today at 1-888-986-7848.