Resources for addiction in the family

Unfortunately, the terrible consequences of untreated drug or alcohol addiction do not only affect the addict. In many cases, the addict’s family suffers just as much. When a family member is struggling with a substance abuse problem, family members may feel that there is no hope of ever getting back the person they care so much about. Fortunately, this is not the case. The right rehab facility can help transform a loved one into a person who loves themselves and lives a life of passion and purpose.

Does a family member need help?

If a family member’s drug or alcohol use is affecting their life in a negative way, they have a problem. Once a problem appears, it is crucial that it is treated as soon as possible. The earlier a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is treated, the more likely it is to be successful and the less damage the addict will do to his life. While every addiction and every addict is unique, there are some general signs of trouble that you can look out for. Some of the most common are:

  • Withdrawing from friends and family
  • No longer enjoying pastimes
  • Behaving in a “shady”, “sketchy”, or evasive manner
  • Having unclear money problems
  • Rapid and frequent mood swings
  • Decreased academic/professional performance
  • Socialising with a different crowd
  • Increasing emotional instability

How can a family member be persuaded to seek help?

One of the most difficult parts of helping a loved one find freedom from addiction is convincing them that they have a problem. Many people see addiction as something stigmatizing, something shameful or embarrassing, especially in the eyes of their friends and family.

Because of this stigma, it is often difficult for people to admit that they have a problem or accept help regarding their addiction.

In addition to this denial, many addicts are unaware of how serious their addiction has become or how much it can damage their physical and mental health.

While it can be difficult to help a family member realise they have a problem, it is not hopeless. While some substance abusers come to the conclusion that they need help themselves, some may need the help of friends or family. Others may need more persuasion. In this case, an intervention may be necessary. Interventions involve a group of people who care about an addict (mainly friends and family) doing the following:

  • Make sure the addict knows that he or she is cared about
  • Explain to the addict that they have a problem
  • Explain how their addiction affects their lives and the lives of their friends and family
  • Offering information on how to get the help they need

Interventions must be handled carefully, preferably by a professional interventionist, otherwise, they may backfire. For more information on how to conduct an intervention, contact a treatment provider.

How can an addicted family member be helped?

Family members of addicts often find themselves on a thin line. On the one hand, they desperately want to support and protect their loved ones. On the other hand, they do not want to enable and unintentionally make addiction more severe or long-lasting. Fortunately, there are many ways to help a family member or friend suffering from SUD.

Be informed

Perhaps the most important thing is to be well informed about addiction and dependency issues, especially those facing a family member. Having the right information can help someone determine the most and least helpful courses of action. One may also find that once they understand what a loved one is going through, they experience less frustration or pain from their loved one’s actions.

Help them find the right rehab centre

Most who struggle with substance abuse find that the best way to achieve and maintain sobriety is to attend a premier treatment centre, and addiction recovery providers universally agree. One can help one’s family member find a safe, effective rehab centre that focuses on restoring love and connection and that will help him start a new, sober life.

Attend family therapy

Many treatment centres offer family days where patients’ loved ones can come and visit them and even participate in their treatment. This is an excellent opportunity to start restoring love and connection. It is also important to attend long-term family therapy, as few methods have such a high chance of success.

How can family members help an addict stay sober?

Sobriety is a lifelong commitment, and it requires a lifetime of support. Getting clean is only the first step in transforming a family member’s life. People in rehab often find that the support of their family is one of the most important factors in their ability and desire to maintain their sobriety. While each individual has unique needs, some of the most effective ways to support recovery include:

  • Keeping the home free of addictive substances
  • Setting and maintaining firm boundaries
  • Encouraging and participating in healthy habits
  • Actively listening to them when they feel the need to speak
  • Maintaining reasonable expectations and avoiding disappointment
  • Seek out and enjoy healthy, substance-free activities
  • Helping them avoid and escape unhealthy situations and relationships
  • Being patient

What resources are there to help support family members?

The actions of someone dealing with substance abuse can be extremely hurtful emotionally, financially, professionally and spiritually. This is especially true when their actions seem intentional. Even if an addict is not actively hurting family members, just taking care of their needs can exhaust family members to their core. Many family members find that they need help to cope. Fortunately, there are many resources available to help family members of addicts get the help they need. If family members of addicts do not take care of themselves, they will not have enough left in the tank to successfully support a family member in recovery.

Remember that it is not their fault

Loving an addict can be frustrating, exhausting and painful. But it is important to remember that addiction is never the addict’s fault. Addiction is a disease with many components, and an addict may have inherited a genetic predisposition to substance abuse at birth.

Relieving the addict of blame does not make the harmful behaviour he may have exhibited acceptable, but it does eliminate the possibility of scapegoating the addict for problems that are probably much bigger than any one individual. There is a reason why so many struggles with addiction; systemic causes are probably at least partly responsible.

Most people, whether they struggle with addiction or not, do the very best they can under difficult circumstances. If the person closest to an addict acts with acceptance and empathy, it can go a long way to helping their family member recover.

Seek help

You know how much it hurts to see a loved one so trapped by addiction that they feel they can’t get out. Fortunately, transformation is possible. Don’t wait for a second longer.

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