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Supporting a Loved One That Suffers From Addiction

    If you have a loved one, such as a family member or friend that is struggling with addiction, it’s normal to want to help. Support is essential and plays a critical role in their recovery.

    However, with all of that being said, it can be challenging to know where to get started. Naturally, you want to offer assistance, but you don’t want to somehow make the situation worse.

    Below we are going to talk about some tips you should follow so that you can support a loved one that is suffering from addiction.

    Let’s get started.

    Recognize the different signs.

    Before you can offer your support to a loved one with addiction, you need to be able to recognize the signs. These can vary from person to person, but ultimately, they show that there may be a problem arising.

    While you should never confront someone, it can help you mentally prepare for a situation. A few signs you may begin to notice are as follows:

    – A lack of interest in activities that used to be important.

    – Neglecting relationships.

    – Change in routine and sleep patterns.

    – Secrecy around time spent.

    – Missing important obligations and events, such as work.

    Seek support for yourself.

    If you’re struggling with depression, anxiety, and stress, you’re not going to be mentally well enough to support another person. So instead, make sure that you are ok, and develop your own strategies to cope, such as writing in a private journal.

    If need be, speak to your doctor or a therapist about how you are feeling. Acknowledging your own emotions is the first step in getting through this potentially difficult time.

    Do your research.

    After this, it’s time to do some research into addiction. This condition affects everyone differently and can also be treated in different ways. Learning about it will help you provide the proper support techniques. 

    This can also be the time to start looking at facilities and programs. While you don’t need to recommend them just yet, planning ahead can help you choose the right option for you and your loved one. Check out this oklahoma recovery center to get started.

    Offer your support verbally.

    This step might seem obvious, but it is crucial and shouldn’t be missed. Your loved ones may not even know that you are willing to help and support them through the entire process.

    Therefore, you’ll want to verbally offer your assistance and explain that you are always there for them, no matter what. Communication is vital, and you both will need to be open to one another.

    Establish trust.

    Trust can be a complicated topic to address when it is paired with addiction. Both you and your loved one may feel that it has been broken, so learning how to repair and regain it can be challenging.

    What’s most important is that you avoid criticizing, lecturing, or engaging in similar addictive behavior. You still want to give them privacy, and sometimes excessive concern can worsen the relationship.

    Be kind, be respectful and try and imagine yourself in their shoes. What they are going through is complex, and it will take time before they are willing to open up.

    Avoid becoming too emotional.

    Emotions make us human, and being distraught about what is happening is completely normal. However, when you’re at an intervention or talking with your loved one, you want to stop them from getting out of hand.

    Anger can quickly lead to violence, and the last thing you want is to destroy trust further. So express how you are feeling, but keep a clear head and pace yourself carefully.

    You can find some tips to manage your anger here.

    Learn to be an active listener.

    Above we mentioned how important communication is, and while that is true, listening is also just as critical. A big part of supporting someone is simply sitting there and actively listening to what they are saying.

    Try and avoid voicing your opinion too frequently and wait for them to finish each sentence. You should both feel welcome to share thoughts, not constantly worry about what the other will say.

    Assist with triggers and cravings.

    Once your loved one has identified their problem and is willing to seek help, you can then try and find ways to assist them with any triggers and cravings.

    This could include keeping them distracted and avoiding certain people and locations. Most people find following the DEADS acronym helpful.

    D = Delay – Wait for them to run their course.

    E = Escape – Remove yourself from the situation.

    A = Accept – Acknowledge your cravings are normal.

    D = Dispute = A counter-statement to help you attack irrational urges.

    S = Substitute = Pick a more beneficial and fun activity.

    Understand that there will be difficulties.

    When you’re helping someone through addiction, you must know there will be difficulties. As much as we may wish the situation gets resolved quickly, there will be bumps in the road.

    There will be potential fights, relapses and you may even find that they aren’t willing to accept their condition at first. It’s important to stay strong and keep your heart in the right place.

    Frequently check in on them.

    Finally, after following all of the above, you have to remember to keep in touch with your loved one regularly. Ask how they are doing and if they need help with anything.

    Having only one conversation isn’t going to address the problem. Frequency is key – but make sure that you aren’t too overwhelming.

    Final words.

    There’s no denying that supporting a loved one through addiction is challenging, but there is always light at the end of the tunnel. Even with the hardships, challenges, and possible relapses, helping them through this time will often end positively.

    Yes, you may not be able to make your loved one change directly, but you can encourage them to seek treatment and offer a hand while they are struggling.