How To Help A Loved One With An Addiction
Addictions are not something that should be handled by the faint-hearted. There are lots of things that a person can generate an addiction to. From food to alcohol, drugs to gambling, anything that’s consumed as an excess and is out of control, is pretty much an addiction whether it’s healthy or not.
Stopping the cycle and breaking out of it is something that may need the support of others to achieve. Not every person who is addicted to a substance or activity is going to be able to do it of their own accord.
Helping a loved one through addiction is crucial to their success in managing and taking control of it. If you’ve got a loved one struggling with some form of addiction, then there are several ways to help this. This guide should hopefully give individuals the guidance they need to help navigate their loved one out of a dark or worrying place.
Understand what they’re going through
It’s important that when you’re approaching this from the perspective of a loved one, you understand what they’re going through. Of course, that can be quite challenging when you yourself have not perhaps gone through an addiction before.
If you have, then you’ll know. However, with most loved ones venturing upon this with little real-life experience, it’s important to clue yourself up on what they’re going through. Each addiction is different too, so the person may be experiencing different physical or emotional turmoils that need assistance.
Helping your loved one can only be done if you’ve done the research on what to expect from an addiction. The highs and lows are different from one addiction to another. You want to be prepared for every eventuality that comes about.
Do the research and clue yourself up on everything before you start dishing out advice or guidance. You don’t want to start telling a person what to do without understanding it inside out, first.
Be mindful of your own health and safety
Before you go dedicating your time and effort to another person, especially a person with an addiction, it’s important to be mindful of your own health and safety. This is important because with an addiction, it can take a lot out of the person addicted but also those around them.
Supporting a person with an addiction isn’t easy. They may react negatively to your help or willingness to provide that support. You have to remind yourself that it’s the addiction that’s causing the reactions, rather than the person deep down.
There may be tough times both physically and mentally, which means you need to be looking after yourself too. Taking a step away is sometimes necessary to gain a perspective and reset your batteries.
Always be mindful of your own health and safety, making sure to remove yourself as and when it’s necessary. While you want to help your loved one, you don’t want to be doing it at the expense of your own health and safety. In situations where the addiction is more dangerous, you want to tread extra carefully.
Focus on the crux of the problem
The problem of addiction is probably a deeper one than you might first think. It’s important that you’re looking at the inner workings of the addiction itself and how it came about in the first place.
Being born with an addiction isn’t something that happens. Their dependency on something they’re addicted to has developed in other ways. It may have slowly happened through the influence of others, such as those they look up to, or their peers. It could be from other faucets of their life.
The crux of the problem is what you want to focus on because that’s where a lot of the healing and work can be conducted.
It’s not easy to get to the crux of an addiction as it may be underneath a lot of layers. Those layers need to be peeled back slowly in some cases for the person with the addiction to address their demons and to get the help they so desperately need to get.
Get them help professionally
Talking of help, a person dealing with an addiction needs to get access to the right resources. The first stage of addiction is acknowledging an addiction in the first place. They also need to be willing to get help themselves. Even if you think you’d be able to get them the help they need, they may not want it.
It can be a wasted effort for you to try and get them access to professionals and they refuse to go. They may go but not take any of it seriously enough to want to change. Dealing with someone who has an addiction can be highly frustrating, to say the least.
When they’re ready to face the music and get help, make sure you’re seeking out the right help and advice. Some professional services are going to be much more productive than others, so it’s important to be clued up on which ones are probably the best for the person in question.
It may be a case of trial and error to figure out what works and what doesn’t. However, getting help is one step closer to getting rid of the addiction once and for all. It’s all progress beyond those first initial steps of acknowledgment and setbacks.
Seek legal support if they get in trouble
Certain addictions might welcome a lot of trouble and it’s important that you’re able to find the legal support needed should it be required.
For example, having a great drug possession defense attorney may help your loved one avoid any particularly bad situation that could impact their life further.
Getting into trouble isn’t just something that’s hard to bounce back from in the short term but it can be challenging in the long-term. While you may be sympathetic to addiction, others might not, especially when it comes to a job.
Seeking legal support is something to consider carefully when it comes to getting help for the person in question.
Set realistic expectations
What are your expectations with your loved one? Is it to kick the habit completely or is it to gradually phase it out over time? Some addictions are more severe than others and some may never quite get rid of the addiction, rather than live with it but on a much smaller scale.
Setting realistic expectations is important because not every possible outcome is achievable. It’s something you may want to discuss with the person in question or with other members of the family or the support network around the individual.
Try to set these goals as soon as possible so that you can work towards making as much progress as possible. Setbacks are likely to happen but if you’re moving a couple of steps forward and one step back, progress is being made. You may find that it also does well to spur the individual with the addiction to have goals in place.
Goals help with those motivations towards reaching milestones, which might be just what the person needs to help control the addiction once and for all.
Avoid the triggers
Triggers are part of an addiction that can result in the individual going downhill. It’s important to try and avoid these triggers by doing everything possible to get the individual away from the addiction itself.
Whether it’s hanging around the wrong crowd or going near a certain location, avoiding triggers can help the person slip back into their addiction. It’s hard to do this as you can always monitor the person 24/7. However, by doing your best to help the person avoid the triggers, the more likelihood of success that the person will have with their addiction.
Acknowledge that it’s them that need to ask for help
As we’ve mentioned, it’s important to remember that even though you can offer help, they need to ask for it. For some people who are trying to help people will an addiction, their ask for help may not come.
It’s important to come to that realization and be accepting that if they want your help, then there’s very little you can do. It’s a hard pill to swallow but you can’t force them to face their addiction if they don’t want to or are not ready to do so.
Expect relapses of addiction
Relapses are common in addiction and this is where the person slips up and falls back into the habit of the addiction. Whether that’s gambling online to taking a drug on a night out, it’s important to know that relapses are common in addiction and it’s not always smooth sailing by any means.
Helping a loved one with an addiction is important because so many need and want help, but lack a support network. Use these tips to help ensure you get your loved ones the help they need for their addictions.
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