Addiction Is a Family Disease: How Can I Help My Loved One?
Alcohol and drug addiction is a family disease. This is because addiction impacts more than just the addict. The addiction reaches all of the addict’s loved ones and the truth is that nobody wins when addiction takes hold.
It can be extremely difficult when you discover that a loved one is suffering from an addiction to drugs and alcohol. You may feel shocked, scared, angry, and confused. Even though you may have such strong emotions, the way you choose to address the problem is critical because addiction is a disease that should not be left untreated.
Knowing how you can best support and help your loved one when they are suffering from addiction will prove to be vital. The way you react will ultimately play a factor in whether or not they agree to seek help.
Understanding the Disease of Addiction
Addiction is a disease that impacts the addict, but it also affects the family of the addict as well – regardless of how close they are or not. It can be painful to watch your loved one become someone you don’t recognize when they are active in their addiction to drugs and alcohol.
It’s also concerning because addiction can bring fatal consequences. The reality is that treatment for addiction becomes not only desirable but necessary. So how do you guide your loved one on the right path toward recovery, especially when they don’t show any interest in making a change?
When your loved one is suffering from an addiction, it’s likely that they will deny having a problem since denial is a related component of the disease. Addiction is a family disease that the addict doesn’t necessarily even realize they are struggling with. Even if they do, they may minimize or falsify the truth to continue using drugs and alcohol.
Now, this doesn’t mean that you, as a concerned parent, sibling, friend, or relative, should just give up. It just means you need to be tactical in your approach of getting through to your loved one.
Try not to come across in a judgmental or accusatory manner but rather from a place of love and concern. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down and tell your loved one how you’ve noticed some changes but want only the best for them – which is getting help to combat their addiction.
No matter what the reaction is that you receive from your loved one, it is critical to make sure they know that you do not and will not support their habit but you will continue to encourage treatment and recovery.
If your loved one continues to refuse addiction treatment, then you may want to take additional action to make sure that you aren’t feeding their drug habit in any way, shape, or form. Make sure you do not enable them, even inadvertently.
Do not give them money, pay their rent, or even get them out of trouble that was caused in relation to their addiction. You cannot keep preventing them from the negative consequences of their drug and alcohol use because this will only perpetuate their illness by allowing them to continue to use.
Setting boundaries with your loved one can be imperative during this crucial time. You can, however, still try to intervene and let your loved one know that you believe there is a problem and they should get some help. It may help to even include additional close friends and family when attempting to get through to your loved one again.
Treatment for Addiction
While you can’t force a loved one to get into treatment, you can certainly let them know how their addiction and behaviors have affected you. This may stick with them and become another consequence of their continual use of drugs and alcohol.
However, consequences are, unfortunately, not enough to deter an addict from using. They will need treatment, but the motivation to seek and receive treatment may come from problems related to their use and the desire to get clean. They have to have some type of understanding that their drug use is no longer “working” for them.
Addiction treatment can begin with a medical detox and inpatient rehab where your loved one can be weaned off substances and receive help for underlying issues. The reality is that there is no “cure” for addiction because recovery is a continual process. However, addiction treatment provides a safe space for your loved one to begin that process of recovery.
Reach out to The Watershed for help today by calling 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, drug addiction, family disease, family roles