Discovering that a loved one is battling an addiction to drugs can be devastating, and trying to support them as they seek help can be very trying. I know it was for my family. In order to be effective in helping them deal with their addiction, you have to keep in mind that the addiction has changed them and how they respond to situations.
You may quickly realize that helping out a loved one in this situation can be very difficult because most of the time they are not aware that they have a problem or they are in denial that they have an addiction. Your loved one may feel embarrassed or awkward about the issue and they often times feel that discussing the addiction with you may risk losing the relationship that you have with them.
Helping a loved one deal with an addiction requires a very different approach and here are some pointers that you can use in order to assure your loved one that you are there to help and support them as they try to recover from their addiction.
- To be effective in helping one deal with the addiction, you have to prepare yourself first. Realize that you will be entering a very stressful situation and that you should come armed with techniques to help you relieve your own stress in order to have a sound mind and body to help out your loved one. Learn strategies to relieve stress and get individual counseling. If you will be there for your loved one, you need someone to be there for you.
- Establishing trust with them should be your most important goal when trying to help them deal with their addiction. Though it may be hard to do because they have somehow betrayed your trust by partaking in the addiction, knowing that they can rely and trust you will help them on their way to recovery. Avoid nagging, lecturing, or criticizing them for their poor judgment. Giving the impression that you would like to control them will get them even deeper into the addiction.
- Throughout their recovery from addiction, you would need constant communication with them in order to continuously encourage and motivate them to get better. Forcing an addicted person to seek help will be futile unless they themselves admit that they have a problem and that they need to change. When communicating with them, you should listen as much as you talk, you should be consistent, you should show that you support the change that they want to happen, and most importantly, you should show understanding and compassion.
- When your loved one has agreed to seek treatment for the addiction, you should take an active role in the process and know what to expect so that you will be able to provide the help and support that your loved one needs. Try to learn more about their addiction and what happens during their withdrawal to help make the entire process more comfortable and bearable for them. Encourage them to take part in group therapy so that both of you can heal the wounds created by the addiction together.