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Unfortunately, the terrible consequences of an untreated drug or alcohol addiction don’t affect the addict alone. In many cases, the addict’s family suffers just as much. If a family member is struggling with a substance abuse issue, relatives may feel like there’s no hope of ever getting back the person they care about so deeply. Luckily, that is not the case. The right rehab can help a loved one transform into a person who loves themselves and leads a life of passion and purpose.
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Does A Family Member Need Help?
If a family member’s drug or alcohol use is impacting their life in any negative way, they have a problem. Once a problem appears, it is critical that it’s treated as quickly as possible. The earlier a Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is treated, the more likely treatment is to be successful and the less damage the addict will do to their life. Although every addiction and every addict is unique, there are some general signs of trouble to look for. Some of the most common include:
- Withdrawing from friends and family
- No longer enjoying previous pastimes
- Acting “shady,” “sketchy,” or evasive
- Having unclear money troubles
- Rapid and frequent mood changes
- Decreased academic/professional performance
- Socializing with a different crowd
- Increasing emotional instability
How Can A Family Member Be Persuaded To Get Help?
One of the most difficult parts of helping a loved one find freedom from addiction is convincing them that they have a problem. Many people see addiction as stigmatized, something embarrassing or shameful, especially in the eyes of their friends and family. Because of this stigma, it’s often hard for people to admit that they have a problem or accept help in regard to their addiction.
Beyond this denial, many addicts are unaware of how severe their addiction has gotten or how much they may be damaging their physical and mental health.
While helping a family member understand that they have a problem may be difficult, it’s not hopeless. While some substance abusers come to the conclusion that they need help on their own, some may need the help of friends or family. Others may require more convincing. In this case, an intervention may be necessary. Interventions involve a group of people that care about an addict (primarily friends and family) doing the following:
- Ensuring the addict knows that they are cared about
- Explaining to the addict that they have a problem
- Explaining how their addiction is impacting their life and the lives of their friends and family
- Offering information on how they can get the help they need
Interventions must be handled carefully, ideally by a professional interventionist, or they may have an impact opposite to that which is intended. For more information on how to hold an intervention, contact a treatment provider today.
How Can An Addicted Family Member Be Helped?
Family members of substance abusers often find themselves walking a fine line. On the one hand, they desperately want to be supportive and to protect their loved one. On the other hand, they do not want to enable an addiction and unintentionally make it more severe or long-lasting. Luckily, there are many ways to help a family member or friend who suffers from an SUD.
Perhaps the most important thing is being well-educated about addiction and dependence issues, in particular those that a family member is facing. Having the right information can help one identify the most and least helpful courses of action. One may also find that, once they understand what a loved one is going through, they experience less frustration or pain from their loved one’s actions.
Help Them Find The Right Rehab
Most struggling with substance abuse issues find that the best way to achieve and maintain sobriety is by attending a top-rated treatment center, and addiction recovery providers universally agree. One can help one’s family member find a safe, effective rehab that focuses on rebuilding love and connection and will help them begin a new, sober life.
Attend Family Therapy
Many treatment centers offer family days where the loved ones of patients can come and visit them and even participate in their treatment. This is an excellent opportunity to begin rebuilding love and connections. It is also important to attend long-term family therapy, as few methods have as great a chance of success.
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How Can Relatives Help An Addict Stay Sober?
Sobriety is a lifelong commitment, and it requires a lifetime of support. Rehab is only the first step toward transforming a family member’s life. Those who are in recovery often find that the support of their family is one of the most important factors in their ability and desire to maintain their sobriety. While every individual has unique needs, some of the most effective ways to support recovery include:
- Keeping the home free of addictive substances
- Setting firm boundaries and maintaining them
- Encouraging and participating in healthy habits
- Actively listening to them when they need to speak
- Maintaining reasonable expectations and avoiding disappointment
- Finding and enjoying healthy, substance-free activities
- Helping them avoid and escape unhealthy situations and relationships
- Being patient
What Resources Are Available To Help Support Family Members?
The actions of someone dealing with substance abuse can be extremely hurtful emotionally, financially, professionally, and spiritually. This is especially true when their actions appear deliberate. Even when an addict isn’t actively causing family members pain, just taking care of their needs can drain relatives to their core. Many family members find that they need help to cope. Luckily, there are many resources out there to help relatives of addicts get the aid they need. If relatives of addicts don’t take care of themselves, they will not have enough left in the tank to successfully support a family member in recovery.
Available resources include:
- NAMI Family Support Group
- Facility-sponsored groups
Remember That It’s Not Their Fault
Loving an addict can be frustrating, exhausting, and painful. But it’s important to remember that addiction is never the fault of the addict. Addiction is a disease with many components, and an addict may have inherited a genetic predisposition to substance abuse when they were born. Absolving the addict of blame does not make any harmful behaviors they may have exhibited acceptable, but it will eliminate the possibility of turning the addict into a scapegoat for problems that are likely far bigger than one individual person. There’s a reason so many struggle with addiction; systemic causes are likely at least partially responsible. Most people, whether they struggle with addiction or not, are doing the very best they can under challenging circumstances. If the loved one of an addict proceeds with acceptance and empathy, it may go a long way toward helping their relative recover.
You know how bad it hurts to watch a loved one get trapped by addiction to the point where they feel like they can’t get out. Thankfully, transformation is possible. Don’t wait another second. Contact a dedicated treatment provider now!
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