How to Help a Family Member with Addiction

If you’re reading this, it’s likely because someone in your family has developed an addiction problem. Whether they’re addicted to drugs, alcohol, sex, gambling or another thing entirely, you want to know how to help them get out of their problem and get back on track with their life. Here are the steps to take when helping someone with addiction problems get the help they need and get back into your life.

1) What Type of Addictions Do They Have?

In order to find out what type of addiction they have, you’ll need to talk openly about their substance abuse. Try using questions like What substance do you take? When? And why? or Have you ever thought about getting help for your drinking/drug use? This will give you a better understanding of what type of problem they are facing. Are they addicted to opioids, benzodiazepines, amphetamines, alcohol or cocaine—or is it more than one substance that they are struggling with (poly-substance addiction)? Knowing what type of addiction is most important when considering treatment options; different therapies work better for different types. Treatment centers can address any number of issues on an individual basis and provide customized care plans.

2) Seek Professional Help

If your loved one does not seek professional help, it is crucial that you try and get them to talk to a counselor or therapist. Many people who have an addiction also suffer from depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder or another mental illness. There are many treatment options for helping someone struggling with addiction – most of which involve medications and therapy – so there’s no reason why your loved one can’t overcome their addiction. By getting them help for their mental health condition(s), as well as supporting them through recovery in rehab from their drug/alcohol addiction, you’ll be setting them up for success by allowing them access to all of their strengths and abilities so they can heal holistically from both conditions.

3) Be There for Them

In many cases, addicts refuse help from their families. They see addiction as a personal battle and do not wish for others to get involved. The most successful way of dealing with an addict is being there for them while simultaneously avoiding enabling or excusing their behavior. Take a firm stance that you want to help your family member but that you will not enable their addiction in any way. The worst thing you can do is go along with everything they say or give in to every one of their requests; make it clear that when they are ready for help, they know how and where to find it.

4) Don’t Expect Too Much Too Soon

Regardless of whether your family member is in treatment or not, be sure that you don’t expect too much too soon. Recovery takes time and there are no shortcuts, so try to remember that it takes time for our brains and bodies to heal from something as powerful as addiction. Your loved one may also need help re-entering society; helping them through that process will show him or her that you care and support their decision to get clean and sober. By giving your loved one all of your support and love, they’ll hopefully learn how valuable life can be when we take it day by day—without drugs.