Helping Loved Ones With Addiction
There many effective ways to love someone in your life who has an addiction, but typically it’s not going to be easy. First of all, do not blame yourself. And right alongside that, it is extremely important to remember that while you’re trying to help the person with an addiction, you cannot forget to take care of yourself, both physically and emotionally.
Who Is to Blame?
So you aren’t blaming yourself—but you can’t blame them either. Addiction is a physical and psychological change within a person, and oftentimes they have little control over or understanding of their actions. Their body is addicted to certain drugs or alcohol (or even food, exercise, sex, gambling, etc.) and their judgement is impaired. Those who struggle with addiction are often very good at manipulating those around them so they can get their next fix.
Enabling Your Loved One
Don’t enable the loved one with an addiction, make sure that what you do is helpful. Obviously lending money to someone with a drug addiction is likely to lead the person to just buy more drugs, feed their habit. And there are some things that may feel helpful, but actually aren’t—like giving the person food or a place to stay. Set certain boundaries for your addicted loved one. Show them that you care, that you love and support them and you’ll be there for them when they need it. But you have to have a certain amount of tough love. Do not be afraid to say ‘no.’ At the end of the day, there is only so much you can do for them.
Life Long Sobriety is the Goal
Don’t feel like they’re going to be cured of their addiction in a day. Lasting sobriety a life-long battle, and the first step in that battle is for the person to want to get better. No matter how hard you want for them, the addict has to be the one to take the first step. But you can be there for your loved one and guide them toward that step, let them know that they have love and support.