Addiction can be a very devastating health condition that can affect anyone. In fact, about 20 million Americans are currently struggling with alcohol and drug addictions. Learning about your loved one’s life-threatening condition can be very painful and difficult to accept, right? You may be confused, angry, and out of control. However, there could still be light at the end of the tunnel. You can still help them overcome the problem and resume the good life they once lived. Where to start? Well, here are the Do’s and Don’ts that should guide you. Please read on.
1. Learn More About Addiction
It’s difficult and almost impossible to successfully deal with what you have no or little knowledge about. Addiction is a disease; and the sooner you understand it well, the better the position you’ll be to handle the addict in your life. You need to educate yourself to know who it can affect, how it affects them, and the possible remedies. Learn as much information about addiction as you can from various resources online such as the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). You can also consult a professional who’s handled similar health issues to help you learn more.
2. Address the Problem
You won’t be able to solve the problem by running away from it. You have to accept it has happened and faces it head-on. The best way to address this issue is by confronting your addicted friend. No matter how intimidating the confrontation can be, it’s an essential step that you’ll have to take for their sake. You may decide to speak to a professional to guide you on how to approach the issue then write down what you’ll talk about. You should choose the right time to approach them, mostly when they’re sober and. Let them know that you care and you want to help them get better; be compassionate and honest with them and try to stay calm throughout the conversation.
3. Consider the Possible Solutions
Talk to them about the possible recovery options and if they’re willing and comfortable to try them out. Ask them if they’d prefer inpatient or outpatient treatment, but ensure you pay for the programs yourself since giving them money might tempt them to satisfy the addiction instead. Help them find a suitable therapist or treatment center that can help them overcome the problem. The victim could also be suffering from both addiction and mental health problems, hence seeking help would be the best solution. There are quite a number of treatment facilities in your area with professionals experienced in handling both addiction and mental health problems. You can check out Sabino Recovery for more information.
4. Stage an Intervention and Set Boundaries
Staging an intervention is vital to help an addict overcome the problem. Here, family and friends shall come together to confront the addicted person, express their concerns, and be a motivation, in a loving environment. They’ll express how the addiction has affected them personally and why it’s important for the victim to get help. You should then set healthy boundaries; that you won’t be willing to do certain things anymore (such as giving them financial help, getting them out of trouble, and even being a part of their life altogether) unless they accept to get help. You can also set curfews and promise to lock them out if they drink or abuse drugs and come home.
1. Don’t Look Down On Them
Learning of your loved one’s addiction can be very upsetting. You might be tempted to blame or look down on them for the addiction problem they got themselves into. But remember, addiction is a disease just like any other chronic disease. No one wants to become addicted to using alcohol and drugs for whatever reason. Even though it can be very difficult to accept that your loved one is suffering from addiction, judging them for their actions may not be a solution either. Instead, support them to overcome the problem the best way you can. They could be stigmatized by the addiction and looking down on them could only make things worse.
2. Don’t Force Them to Quit
Forcing your loved one into treatment may not be very effective when it comes to addiction. Yes, they’ll go for the treatment, but if they are not willing and ready to quit and resume their normal life, all this would be a waste of time and resources. They could embark on drinking and taking drugs again immediately they’re out of rehab. Therefore, just try all other suitable means to convince them to accept the treatment and let them make the decision alone. This way, they’ll be in a better position to avoid any possibility of a relapse.
3. Don’t Give Up On Them
You’re going to try a lot of ways and times to have your addicted friend or family member to quit. And there’s no guarantee that you’ll be successful within the first month or two. You’ll try and fail, then try again and fail again. At such a moment, you can be exhausted, confused, frustrated, and angry; and you can easily think about giving up trying. But you should remember that addiction is a disease and it may not be that easy battling it. You should instead keep on trying, showing them that it’s possible and you’ll always be there for them. Giving up on them might make them give up on themselves as well, which is not a good sign.
4. Don’t Enable Them
Your addicted friend could make some ridiculous requests to you and since you care about them, you might easily agree to grant them what they want. They could ask you to lend them some money, buy them drugs, or get them out of jail. If they know you’ll be there to bail them out of dangerous situations they get themselves involved in, they’ll hardly recover. You’ll be enabling their behavior thinking you’re helping them out. You should, therefore, learn how to say no to requests you believe will bring them more harm than good. Just say “NO.”
Addiction is a serious health issue that can result in premature death if not dealt with early enough. It hijacks the brain and the victim will always try everything possible to satisfy the desire. Anyone can fall victim of this disease. If you have an addict in your life, there are Do’s and Don’ts, such as those explained above, that you should try to abide by to help your loved one reach out and overcome the problem. You can consult a professional or visit a rehab center near you to learn more about how you can help them. All the best!