Helping someone who is struggling with addiction can be a long and heartbreaking process. It can be overwhelming at times, and once you hit your breaking point, you might think ignoring their situation is the best solution. However, this can be difficult if the person struggling with the addiction is someone you love and care about. You more than likely want to help, but most of the time it can feel like a losing battle. But there are things you can do if you want to help someone struggling with addiction, and we will discuss them further in this article.
Helpful Tips You Can Apply for Those Struggling
Addiction is a disease that can destroy the life of the addict and the relationships they have. While it may seem like a hopeless case, addiction can be treated effectively. But, it is up to the user to make the ultimate decision to get the help they need. If you want to help someone who is in active addiction and is not yet seeking treatment, or someone who is currently in recovery, here are some helpful tips that you can apply:
Don’t enable them
Watching someone spiral into addiction can be gut-wrenching, especially if the person is someone you love. When they can no longer manage the situation, it is easy to step in and take care of everything for them, including paying their bills, giving them money, and even apologizing to others on their behalf for their behavior. Drawing a line between enabling a loved one and supporting them is difficult, but it must be done. Although we cannot help but feel obligated, refusing to enable their current lifestyle will help the addict realize the consequences of their harmful actions and behaviors. Enabling them and tolerating their bad behavior only prolongs their suffering. Supporting them in a way that they can stand on their own feet is the only way to go, this way they can commit to treatment and recovery.
Don’t look at the guilt or shame
Many drug addicts feel that they are being judged by their own family and friends, which is why they always act in defense as a response to any criticism. They feel that they are being scrutinized under a microscope, and may turn to more drugs in order to cope with the stress that they are feeling. That is why it is important that you understand their feelings of shame and guilt that they feel can be a hindrance to their chances of getting better. So it is best to look past these feelings and encourage your loved one to get help rather than pointing it out. Studies show that shame is the least effective incentive to change because it is painful and isolating to the addict. In return, this makes them feel like they are not worthy of being loved, accepted, or receiving treatment.
Without the right support, an addict will eventually feel more isolated and alone from their friends and families. Because of this, they will turn to using more drugs as a means to cope. However, showing compassion can be one of the best methods that friends and families should use to approach the situation. This will help the drug addict reach out and to seek help, rather than have feelings of isolation. It is through compassion that the person who is suffering can feel comfortable enough to open up about their feelings, and at the same time, understand that their actions are also hurting you. Experts believe that social support and empathy towards addicts are keys to getting them to accept the treatment they need, and stay committed to getting better.
However, it is important that you can differentiate between supporting and enabling. Some of the ways that you can show or apply compassion is by asking open questions, including the family members in therapy, listening to and acknowledging their pain, understanding what addiction is, and emphasizing your concern and care.
Encourage them to practice healthy habits
Someone who is addicted to drugs and alcohol is often seen with poor physical and mental health. Not only that, they tend to neglect their hygiene which sometimes takes a toll on them. Depression and anxiety are both common in addicts, and are often made worse by the substances that they use. Encouraging them to get treatment is important for their health. Help them understand that their addiction is taking a toll on their life, and establish an environment that is structured where they can grow once again. Encourage them to seek a healthy lifestyle by motivating them to exercise and eat right as an essential part of their recovery that must be done regularly.
Research the treatments options
While it is a possibility that your loved one might not be ready to accept your help yet, this does not mean you can’t do anything for them. In fact, you can start by doing some research on the best treatment facilities and centers. Search online for the best treatment options and physicians that you can work with. Looking into their treatment options, requesting for a visit, or giving them a call can help you figure out if they can help your loved one. Exploring the different options you can find and getting as much information you need can definitely help you prepare them for their journey ahead.
Setting up limits for yourself in your relationship with the addict is important and it is crucial that you stick to them and don’t waver or compromise on your needs. For example, set boundaries about drinking inside the house or smoking, refuse to bail them out of jail, make it clear that you will not help them out with money problems, etc.. Make sure to follow through with them, otherwise they will see your boundaries as something that can be broken. Setting up boundaries doesn’t mean that you don’t love them. In fact, it will help hold them accountable for their actions, which is an extremely important step in the recovery process. This way they will understand that everything that they do has a consequence that will reflect on them as well.
Having an addiction can destroy a lot of things. This includes families, friends, relationships, and work. Sometimes, it can feel hopeless, but it is at times like this when you should remain positive. Addiction can be treated. While there is no easy cure, there are plenty of addicts today that are in recovery thanks to people like yourself who are reaching out. So it is important to look into the brighter side of things because when you lose hope, the chances of the addict in your life successfully recovering is also diminished when you lose faith in them. Stay positive and continue helping those who are in need.
Take care of yourself too
Focusing on taking care of yourself is as important as helping an addict. If you are stressed out about their issues as well as your own, then this will create feelings of resentment. It will be a struggle to be consistent with a person who has put you through a lot of stress and heartache. However, if you plan on helping an addicted friend or loved one, then it is essential that you also take care of yourself. Get some exercise, rest and eat the right food. Don’t be afraid to seek the support you need too, so you can be better equipped to help out your loved one. It is also important to remember that you are not alone and many people are battling with these issues day to day. Taking care of yourself is not selfish but rather a way to help you help others.
Helping a person with addiction is not an easy task. It could be trying, especially if the person you want to help is stubborn and refuses to get help. However, don’t give up on them. You might just be the beacon of light that they desperately search for. Take your time and be patient, your hard work will pay off and your loved one can recover.
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