Getting Help For You or Someone You Love
How to get help for an addict if it’s your or someone you love? It can be extremely difficult to admit that addiction has come to rule your life or the life of someone you care about. Even if you aren’t the one who is directly suffering from addiction, the problem itself will still affect you. It can even start to ruin your life, no matter how you’re related to the individual.
Addiction makes people selfish; it changes the way they would normally react to others. It can make them forget about their responsibilities to themselves and to you, and it can cause rifts to form between people who care about each other deeply. Sometimes, it can tear families apart.
Being able to recognize that addiction is affecting your relationships with your loved ones is the first step toward making a change, but it is also just one effort in a long line of difficult actions. Whether addiction has affected your child, your parent, your spouse, your friend, or even you, you will have different ways of looking at the situation as well as different requirements and opportunities for creating real change.
We want to help every person who needs professional treatment for drug or alcohol addiction to find the care they require and to be able to begin their road to recovery as safely and effectively as they can. But what should you do to help someone you love based on your relationship to the addicted individual? And if you are the one who is seeking assistance with long-term addiction, how can professional treatment in a rehab center truly help you?
How to Help An Addict – What to Do When You Are Addicted
If you are reading this section, we can assume that you are in need of help when it comes to your own addictive behavior. It’s important to understand, then, why addiction occurs. First off, addiction is not an issue of weak will or an inability to take drugs or drink alcohol without giving into their effects.
Addiction is a mental illness as well as a biochemical reaction that occurs in the brain of many people who abuse drugs and alcohol. Some people become addicted when they do this while others may not, but it is not a question of strong versus weak.
Instead, there are many factors that increase one’s likelihood of becoming addicted to one or more substances. Having addiction in your family tree is one such factor. Environment, development, and other factors also play a part. So, remember, experiencing addiction has nothing to do with your lack of will or strength. And if you have realized that you need help, that is a healthy reaction to your struggle with addiction.
Are You Addicted?
Ask yourself the questions below in order to determine if your substance abuse has already morphed into a full-blown addiction.
- Do you find yourself using or drinking more than you intended?
- Do you require more and more of your drug of choice to experience the same effects?
- Do you ever experience withdrawal effects when you are unable to use?
- Have you started to isolate yourself from people who used to matter to you?
- Are the activities that were once important to you no longer holding your interest?
- Have you experienced any severe side effects from your drug or alcohol abuse, be they physical, psychological, legal, professional, etc.?
- Do you feel that you won’t be able to stop using on your own?
The final question is the most telling about the experience of addiction because the nature of addiction involves an inability to control. Of course, it’s important to discuss this issue with a doctor for a true diagnosis, but if you answered yes to more than one of these questions, you are very likely already addicted.
What Should I Do To Help An Addict?
If you think you are struggling with an addiction to drugs, alcohol, or both, follow the steps below to get help.
- First, reach out to someone. It is much easier to go through recovery with the help of those who love you, and you will be especially in need of support at this time.
- If you feel comfortable, it is often helpful to seek a professional opinion from your doctor. That way, you can be certain that you are dealing with a full-blown addiction.
- Seeking professional rehab treatment is the safest, most effective way to overcome addiction. At Westwind Recovery, we offer detox, inpatient, outpatient, and sober living for individuals just like you who want to get clean and start their lives over. Call 855.340.8832 or visit us at westwindrecovery.com today.
- Remember, when you tell people about your addiction and your desire to get help, you are doing the best thing for your own recovery. Although it is difficult to admit that you are in need of help, it is better to ask this of the people who care about you than to assume they won’t understand. In fact, they will likely want to see you make a change for the better, which means they will do all they can to support you.
What to Do When Your Child Is Addicted
Whether young or old, we all want what’s best for our children, and seeing your child struggle with addiction can be heartbreaking. Many parents feel they are at the end of their rope before they start seeking help for their children, but the truth is that change can occur and things can get better, especially if you and your child take steps toward recovery with professional addiction treatment.
What Should I Do To Help An Addict?
- Have a conversation with your child. Wait until they are sober, as it won’t be effective if they are not. Talk to them about your concerns, but speak with love and support, rather than with blame.
- If a simple conversation is not effective, it might be time to try an intervention, which is a more formal way of telling someone you want them to get professional help for addiction. It can be beneficial to gather some of your child’s closest friends, relatives, etc. so that you will have other people to back up your claims. Make sure everyone writes down what they want to say ahead of time. It can also help to hire a professional interventionist.
- The only way an intervention works, though, is if you set boundaries. Think about what you will say. Something like, “If you do not agree to get help today, I won’t be able to give you money anymore,” is a good step. Remember, though, this cannot be a hollow threat. It needs to be a solid consequence that you will be able to enforce if your child does not agree to seek help.
- Once your child is in treatment, it is often extremely effective for their overall recovery if you stay involved. Family therapy is an important part of rehab, and you and your child will be able to work through some of your problems while in a safe space together.
Always remember that your child’s addiction is not your fault any more than it is theirs. Instead, it is important to seek effective treatment in a safe environment where they can learn to cope with and eventually manage the effects of their addiction. It can also be helpful to your own recovery and ability to reconcile with your child if you seek therapy or another kind of treatment for yourself.
What to Do When Your Parent Is Addicted
The process of getting a family member into addiction treatment—especially an older one and most especially a parent—can be extremely difficult. On one hand, adult children are often afraid to confront their addicted parents, opting instead to try and smooth things over. But often, this kind of solution only works for so long.
It can be helpful to follow the same type of trajectory for helping a parent recover from addiction as for helping an adult child. Having a conversation, setting boundaries, and requiring that the parent seek professional addiction treatment are all helpful and important. However, since your relationship is one of a parent and child, it will make setting boundaries hard, even after the effects of addiction may have switched your roles. Seeking help from a professional interventionalist or a therapist can allow you to learn the skills you will need to do these things in an effective way.
Addiction can strike any time in a person’s life, although it is usually an issue that occurs with younger people. Always remember, just because someone is older doesn’t mean they have to live with addiction. Professional treatment can benefit everyone, allowing them to have a safer, happier life.
What to Do When Your Significant Other Is Addicted
Many people struggle with the issue of an addicted boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse. This is especially troubling because addiction often hits those closest to the addicted individual the worst. Realizing someone you are in love with is dealing with a disease this severe can be devastating, especially if your spouse refuses to seek help.
Similar tactics can be utilized here to get your spouse into treatment. Boundaries such as refusing to allow your spouse to see your children or to live in your shared home if they do not seek help are sometimes necessary in order to clarify the severity of the situation. In some cases, talking with your spouse and telling them you want them to get help can work, but if that has not been successful, it is necessary to set these types of boundaries.
Spouses of addicted individuals often need therapy of their own to work through their feelings of anger and betrayal. In addition, couples therapy can be a helpful tool during and after your spouse’s rehab to mend the strained areas of your relationship.
What to Do When Your Sibling or Friend Is Addicted
This can be a tricky situation. If someone you care about deeply but are not in a position of authority or a place of intimacy with is dealing with addiction, it can be hard to set boundaries.
Still, think about what your sibling, friend, or the significant individual important in your life has done since they started using. Do they borrow money from you? Have you been covering for them with their job? With your parents?
These kinds of actions can sometimes be signs of enabling or trying to protect the addicted individual in a way that actually makes it easier for them to use. Going to a therapist and discussing the effects of enabling can help you put an end to this problem and allow you to find the boundaries you need to help your loved one into treatment.
Get Your Loved One to Seek Help for Addiction
- Use “I” statements, such as “I feel…” or “I am worried…” This seems less accusatory to your loved one and will be less likely to escalate their feelings of being antagonized.
- Tell your loved one that you support them and will continue to do so if they seek treatment. However, you will not be able to support their habit, which is where setting boundaries comes in.
- Remind your loved one that they will not need to go through recovery alone. Tell them you will go to family or couples counseling with them and that you will help them work through their recovery every step of the way.
- Avoid getting angry and raising your voice. Whatever you do, stay calm. This will keep the discussion from being able to escalate too far.
- Reach out to professional interventionists and therapists. You shouldn’t have to go through this process alone.
- Before talking to your loved one, it can be extremely helpful to reach out to a professional rehab center first, so you have someplace already set up for your friend, family member, or spouse to go. Call(855) 815-9727 to speak with a treatment advisor for Westwind Recovery now and learn more about our facility.
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