When you care about someone who’s an addict, you might feel completely helpless. You may watch them destroy their life with their pursuit of drugs and alcohol, but it may feel like nothing you say or do makes any difference to the person. You beg. You cry. You refuse to lend money. You implore them to seek addiction treatment. Nothing works.
First, you need to do what you can to maintain your compassion for the addict and to keep yourself from slipping into anger and despair, which can cause you to give up hope and stop making any effort. Here are a few things that you can do to help an addict in your family or an addict you love:
A lot of people mistakenly think that addicts are in control of their behaviors. They think that if only the addict made a choice to change their behavior, they could. But this just isn’t the case. When someone is in an active addiction, they will do anything they can to get their next drink or their next score. They just want to feel that buzz or that high.
Knowing and accepting this is going to help you immensely in your quest to help your loved one. You will stop trying to rationalize with the person, and you will stop blaming them and feeling disappointed or angry because of them. You can then start to see their addiction for what it is: A disease. Just as you wouldn’t get upset at a cancer patient for not being able to slow the growth of a tumor, you can’t get angry at an addict for acting out to get that next fix. You have to accept the addiction as a disease and get professional help from an addiction treatment facility.
That’s right. You need to sit back and let your loved one get arrested if they have drugs on them or are stealing to finance their habit. You need to let them get in trouble at work because they are constantly showing up late. You need to let them answer to their spouses or to their other loved ones for the ways that they have been failing them.
The reason you need to do these things is that addicts will not try to break free from the grip of drugs or alcohol until the consequences they experience from using are greater than the pleasure they get from it. You don’t have to let them seriously injure themselves, and you don’t have to stand by while you see them in a situation that poses immediate, physical harm. But you should refrain from intervening in other circumstances so they can face those natural consequences and hopefully realize that they need to get help.
You can’t show compassion to a loved one struggling with addiction if you are stressed out, frustrated, angry, and otherwise overwhelmed by your own life or by the situation with the addict. You need to take care of yourself before you can take care of others. Make sure you are getting the things you need, including a healthy diet, regular exercise, down time, and time with friends and family.
You should also consider attending a group for friends and family of addicts, such as Al-Anon or Narcon. You will get support from others going through the same thing, and you will get advice and feedback for how to help yourself and your loved one.
It can be very difficult when someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol. You may feel powerless and afraid. But you can get help for yourself and for your loved one. You just need the right perspective and help from the right addiction clinic or treatment center.
Corebella Health and Wellness is ready to help your family. We offer addiction treatment for those struggling with drugs and alcohol, and we offer addiction counseling for those in recovery, as well as their loved ones. We serve patients throughout Glendale and Tempe, and we have a variety of treatment options to meet your needs, including medication treatment through a suboxone doctor. Call us today to learn more about how we can help you.