Supporting a Loved One With an Addiction Issue - Guest Post

Thursday, January 04, 2018

There are few ailments in life which cause as much pain and suffering as an addiction. All too often, the impact of an addiction extends beyond the addict themselves and affects their closest friends and family as well. Both the addict and their loved ones are liable to face the same emotions and the same challenges. Feelings of guilt, fear, worry, and even anger are common. Addiction is a disease which is able to twist the very fabric of what defines an individual. It can warp their view of themselves and the world around them to such an extent that the task of ridding an addict of their disease can at times seem utterly impossible.

Remain Detached

When a loved one is struggling with addiction, it is often difficult to know how best to support them, and in some cases, what can feel like the right thing to do is actually the worst thing for them. A degree of detachment is needed, and sometimes, as painful as it might be, addicts need to get worse before they get better. Here are some things that you need to remember when helping a loved one deal with an addiction.

Do Your Research

Every drug is different and every addict is different. The features of addiction to various drugs can vary a great deal and no two addicts will have the same experience of their addiction to the same substance. By doing as much research as you can about the substances that you suspect to be involved in your loved one’s addiction, you will be preparing yourself as much as possible for what lies ahead. It is worth looking online for support groups and message boards, both for addicts and for their families. Often, it is easier to discuss things online, protected by the anonymity that the internet provides, than it is in person.

Avoid Enabling

When it is someone that you care about who you suspect to be suffering from an addiction, the temptation is to provide them with whatever support they require, be it emotional or financial. These instincts are perfectly natural; no one wants to see someone that they care about suffer. However, it is important to recognise when your support crosses the line into enabling. The most common example of this is in the providing of financial aid. Money is the lifeblood of addiction and even if the addict genuinely wishes to change, as long as they have the means and opportunity to procure their drug of choice, they will be tempted.
Rather than providing an addict with money directly, you should instead buy things on their behalf when absolutely necessary. Should your loved one find themselves falling afoul of the law because of their drug use then, rather than offering them the cash to pay for legal representation, instead consider hiring a drug crime lawyer on their behalf.

Supporting a loved one with an addiction is not easy. In fact, to provide the best support, you have to be prepared to allow things to get worse for the addict. Focus on the long-term and on making sure that when they are ready to change, you are there to help them.

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