If you know someone struggling with an addiction, you are probably feeling overwhelmed. And you are likely asking yourself so many questions. How could this happen? Why did they let it get this far? How did I miss the signs that they were addicted? But most importantly, you are probably asking yourself one main question: How can I help them?
When a friend or loved one has an addiction, you just want them to be okay again. That’s all any of us want for those in our life—for everyone to be okay and happy. If you aren’t sure where to begin with helping someone battling addiction, let’s go over a few practical tips to start.
Try Not To Enable Them
This might seem like an obvious piece of advice, but it’s here for a reason. Enabling goes beyond providing money or their choice of substance or alcohol. Although, certainly, those are good examples of enabling.
You may think you are helping if you offer to take them to the pharmacy to pick up their prescriptions. You know how badly they struggle without them. Or maybe you are always there to go out with them to a bar and be their designated driver. You don’t want to see them go through withdrawals, but at the same time, enabling them will only further increase their addiction. It is called tough love for a reason.
Show Them Compassion And Understanding
Even if you don’t understand it, try to show them compassion. Addiction is not something that people choose to go through. It can start innocently enough. Or maybe they have a family history of addiction or alcohol use. Whatever the case is, addiction is a disease just like anything else. Never place the blame directly on the addict. You should never say things like, “I can’t believe you let this happen,” or “How could you do this to yourself? To us?” Neither of those things is going to help the situation, and it will only make them feel worse about the situation as it.
Be Their Support System
Many addicts have other underlying mental health issues that are causing them to continue to use. Mental health issues are tricky. Unlike a physical illness, you can’t see when someone is struggling. Unless they outwardly show signs or behaviors that are easily picked up on, making addiction even more challenging to treat. As frustrated as you are with the situation, know that they still need support at the end of the day. They need to know that they are loved and that the people in their life just want the best for them. And while sometimes wanting the best for them will end up making them angry towards you, do it anyways.
Help Them Find Options
Addiction treatment is not a one size fits all solution. What works for one person may not work for another person. And addiction is not just a disease that affects someone in terms of usage. It affects their mental health, their nutrition, and physical health. Access to the right resources to help with an addiction battle is only the first step to healing. As much as you may want to, it won’t be possible for you to help them all on your own.
Contact your local rehabilitation centers or programs that are directly involved with helping those who have an addiction. And while they may be resistant or hostile, do your very best to get them to receive support. Mental health plays a huge role in the battle with addiction. Encourage them to begin substance abuse counseling. And don’t forget to receive support for yourself as well. Contact our office today to learn more.