10 Ways to Support a Family Member with Addiction
19 August, 2022
Having a family member who struggles with substance use disorder (SUD) can be trying. You want to be able to help them without making the issue worse or pushing them away.
#1. Learn Everything You Can About Your Loved One's Addiction
Each individual is unique, and the substance they are addicted to can affect the type of treatment they require. It is crucial to look at information from reputable sources or reach out directly to a medical or clinical professional at an addiction treatment center for more information on the disease of addiction and how it's affecting your loved one.
The Edge Treatment Center staff will support you and your family and answer any questions you may have about a loved one's addiction. Becoming more aware and educated can create the most effective plan of action for your loved one before entering treatment.
#2. Offer Non-judgmental Active Listening
You may not agree with your loved one's choices or actions. However, during this situation, whether you agree isn't important. What is important is showing that you care and want to listen to what they have to say. You can do this by avoiding arguing or waiting for a chance to jump in with your thoughts. Instead, actively listen and make them feel heard.
The more that your loved one feels that you are listening, the more they will feel comfortable coming to you for support and guidance. Active listening can also imbue your loved one with confidence in overcoming their addiction because they know you believe in them and their success.
#3. Guide Them to Find Help
Once you have created a safe and open place for your loved one to come and talk to you, start sharing with them the information you found about their addiction. This can provide them with options that fit them and their needs the best. You might offer them options like therapy, a sobriety support group, outpatient treatment programs, or inpatient treatment programs.
They might be more inclined to listen to you share what you have found and why you want them to get help after you've built a foundation of trust and started an ongoing dialogue about the issue. This is why it is vital to start creating a bond before springing recovery strategies on them.
#4. Prepare for Denial
Your loved one may not be in a place where they're ready for change yet. Most people start to get defensive when confronted with things they are doing wrong. If your loved one reacts poorly to treatment suggestions, stay calm and avoid unnecessary arguments because this will only make the situation worse.
Keep in mind as well that their addiction didn't develop overnight which means that their recovery also will not happen overnight. Recovery is a life-long process that will most likely have bumps in the road, and it won't start at all unless your loved one is willing to change. Be patient, keep loving them and having conversations with them, and you may see denial slowly start to fade away.
#5. Avoid Financial Enabling
You can still offer support to a family member but don't enable them by helping them financially. Enabling causes more harm than good, and if this is happening too often, then it can also affect your bank account and quality of life. Bailing them out when they're strapped for rent or groceries may seem like a good idea at the moment, but all of that money allows their addiction to continue.
#6. Take Care of Yourself
Addiction does not just affect the one addicted; it affects the entire family. It is a good idea to attend individual and/or family therapy to work through your emotions during this time and find the best ways to care for yourself so you can continue to care for your loved one.
If you are struggling to find ways to start this process, the clinical staff at The Edge is always available to provide education and resources.
#7. Continue to Spend Time as a Family
Isolation during recovery can make things worse for your family member. Plan activities to do together as a family like trying new recipes together, going on a walk together, or watching a movie together. It will make your loved one feel more involved and appreciated if they can continue to feel connected with you and other family members.
#8. Manage Your Expectations
It is normal to have high expectations about treatment and believe that once your loved one has committed to recovery, everything will get better immediately. However, recovery takes time and is a life-long journey. If you expect too much and your loved one struggles to reach that high bar, you may become disappointed or frustrated which can negatively affect your loved one and their progress.
#9. Stay Involved During Treatment and Recovery
Continuing to show your loved one that you care and that you are rooting for their success can be as simple as showing up for visitor hours or attending family therapy with them. Not showing any interest in their healing process can slow things down and make them think you no longer care.
#10. Set Boundaries
If you find that helping your loved one is taking a toll on your mental health, step back a bit and enforce healthier boundaries to help you and your loved one. This can be one of the hardest steps because it may seem as though you are abandoning them. However, this is not the case, as setting healthy boundaries can help you and them in the long run.
The Edge Treatment Center Recognizes the Needs of Family Members During Recovery
Understanding how to support a loved one struggling with SUD can feel lonely and difficult at times.
As a family-owned treatment center that has walked many loved ones through the recovery process, The Edge Treatment Center knows firsthand the toll SUD can take on a family. This is why we make it a priority to connect family members with resources available for them to ensure a smooth recovery process. We want to serve as a guide for both you and your loved one through therapy and regular contact, as much as you need to feel comfortable.
Don't wait any longer. Contact The Edge Treatment Center today.