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When someone in your family is battling addiction, helping them fight it can be an all-consuming experience for you both – for the whole family. Addiction affects every aspect of a person’s life and, in turn, affects the people around them. Whether it is alcohol, drugs, or another form of addiction, a loving family member can easily get sucked into helping their loved one overcome the debilitating disease. Luckily, a strong family support system is one of best things a person can have to help them overcome addiction.
If you are a family member of someone trying to battle any kind of addiction, here are some things you can do to get them the help that they need.
Tips to Help a Family Member Who is Battling Addiction
If you are reading this article you have already taken one of the biggest steps in terms of helping a loved one recover from addiction: acknowledging that your family member needs help. One of the best indicators of successful recovery is a strong support system. Although addiction is hard on every member of the family, your presence and your acknowledgment are two of the best things you can offer in order to help them.
1. Remind yourself that addiction is a disease.
It is not uncommon for a family member to go through four of the five stages of grief while helping a loved one with their addiction before coming to the final-stage: acceptance. Acceptance that the one they love really does need help.
You’ll go through a lot of different emotions yourself and there’s a good chance that there will be days when you will be furious with this person no matter how much you love them. You will blame them and think if they could just “get over it” things would be better for your family. However, it’s important to always remember that addiction is a disease. It affects how a person’s brain works, causing them to act in ways that are uncharacteristic to the person we usually know and love.
2. Confront Them
Chances are that your loved one knows that they need help…whether or not they’re ready to admit it. Whether you set up a personal or a group intervention, remember your main goal is showing them how much you love and support them and sharing that you want to help them overcome their disease.
Consult a professional therapist or counselor when deciding the best course of action to take when confronting your loved one about their addiction.
Many times, those who are battling the addiction will feel ashamed, scared, and embarrassed, which can lead to anger, defensiveness, and bitterness towards those intervening. Consulting with a professional prior to the intervention can help make sure you approach the situation in the best way possible.
3. Get them the help they need.
One of the best things you can do for a loved one trying to overcome an addiction is to get them the professional help they need, in an environment that will facilitate their recovery.
Every inpatient and outpatient program is different so you want to find one that’s a match for your loved one. Think about their hobbies, preferences, likes and dislikes, and take those into consideration as you’re choosing a place.
For example, Seasons in Malibu Addiction and Mental Health Treatment Center in Malibu, California incorporates intensive, doctorate level, one-on-one therapy, with everything from yoga, acupuncture and brainspotting, to surfing and spiritual therapy into their treatment programs, each of which is individualized based on the client.
The doctors and mental health professionals at this facility are focused on ensuring that the whole person is taken care of while in their program – not just the addiction.
They focus on detox, alcohol and drug inpatient programs, mental health treatment and systemic family treatment. They also offer aftercare for a wide range of addictions including prescription drugs, opiates, alcohol, and cocaine.
But remember – not all treatment centers are created equal so take some time to research locations, programs, insurance options, and other important details before making a decision.
4. Have a plan.
While your loved one is getting professional help, have a plan of action for their return. Family therapy sessions are a great way to ensure that everyone is on the same page so you that you can continue to work through the addiction recovery process – together.
Make sure that you know the triggers that set off their addictive behaviors and what coping mechanisms they have learned to help them manage and work through their addictions.
Work together with your loved one’s therapist or other professionals so that you can do everything possible to make sure they are successful after completing their rehab program.
5. Know that they will always be fighting.
Addiction is not something that your loved one will “get over,” even with the help of licensed therapists, psychiatrists, and doctors.
Addiction is something they will battle every single day.
However, with the right coping mechanisms and the support of a loving family, they will have less of a chance of relapsing.
On-going therapy sessions, either for the individual or as a family, can help them continue to battle their addiction head on.
Be present. Be supportive. Be strong. Be patient. Be kind.
Addiction is a strong disease, one that often takes a team of people and resources to fight. But having a strong, loving, and caring family while in recovery is one of the most important things a person can have to help them fight the disease.
Addiction does not discriminate between race, gender, or socio-economic status. It can affect anyone, and can affect the loved ones around them who are trying to help. The best thing someone can do to help someone overcome addiction is to be there for them – acknowledge the disease, get them the professional help they need in a facility like Seasons in Malibu, and understand that the addiction will always be there.
For more advice on addiction check out this firsthand experience in Understanding the Nature of Addiction from a recovering addict.