According to a study by Columbia University, more than 40 million Americans struggle with a drug or alcohol addiction. Assuming each of these individuals has a support network around them, there are millions more family members and friends who are suffering along with them.
If you’re trying to help a loved one face an addiction, you probably feel overwhelmed and a little bit lost as to how you should participate in his or her recovery. While you can’t make your loved one quit drinking or using drugs or prevent them from relapsing, there are a few things you can do to provide support during this difficult time.
Educate yourself on addiction
It can be difficult to fight addiction if you don’t understand it. Read articles and books on the signs, treatments, and relapse triggers associated with substance use disorders to discover as much as you can about what your loved one is going through. Stick to the facts, rather than the opinions of friends and family members, to avoid clouding your mind with misinformation.
Participate in family programs and therapy
If your loved one decides to go into a drug abuse program, choose a facility that involves loved ones in the recovery process. Participating in family programs and therapy will make your loved one feel supported and help you learn to take care of your own needs simultaneously. Family therapy can also assess whether codependency has been an issue, and if so, how to overcome enabling behaviors.
Make healthy decisions for yourself
It’s important to take care of yourself, regardless of how your loved one is doing. Making healthy choices that will benefit your mind, body, and spirit will help you provide a strong source of support for the addict in your life both during treatment and afterwards. Consider enlisting the help of a professional addiction counselor to guide you on your own recovery journey.
Keep an open dialogue
A person with a substance use disorder can be emotionally guarded and may be reluctant to ask for your help. However, talking can be healing for everyone involved. With communication, your addicted loved one can turn to you during tough times instead of drugs or alcohol. Maintaining an open dialogue is also an effective way to track your loved one’s recovery.
Encourage them to seek treatment
It can be very challenging to convince a loved one that they need treatment for their substance use disorder. However, it’s not impossible. Many addicts choose the path to recovery because their friends and family recognized a problem and intervened. A professional interventionist can help your loved one see how his or her addiction affects the lives of those around them.
Does your loved one need drug addiction help?
Once your loved one enters treatment for an addiction, he or she will continue to need your guidance, love, and understanding. Your support both during rehab and afterwards will be crucial to helping your loved one establish and maintain a new, sober lifestyle. At Alvarado Parkway Institute, our Choose Recovery Program is an ideal entry point for addicts who are ready to make a positive change. For more information on our inpatient and outpatient services, please call us at (619) 667-6125.