How to Help a Loved One with Drug Addiction

An addict in the family can create serious problems for all members. As the addiction progresses, behaviors become more invasive and unacceptable. This is painful for everyone. Blaming the problems on the addict is common, but does little to help them stop. Addiction is not a matter of bad behavior. It is an illness. The addict wants to be a better person, but is in the grip of a powerful illness that is difficult to get away from.
Finding Support for Dealing with Addiction 
It is important for those impacted by the addict’s lifestyle and behaviors to understand their role in the process of recovery. The first thing family members and friends can do is become educated about addiction. This can be done in the setting of a treatment program designed for family members and friends of an addict. Support groups and therapies can help them overcome the tendency to blame themselves or the addict for the addiction.
How You Enable Addiction 
Family and friends may unknowingly help in ways that are bad for the addict. This is called enabling. What that means is they enable the addict to stay high by giving them money or believing the addict when they say they just need to get back on their feet. Other forms of enabling are bailing the addict out of trouble created by the addiction without letting them suffer the consequences firsthand. Money will seldom help an addict do anything, except buy more drugs. Bailing an addict out of their painful consequences removes them from understanding the price of their drug use. Most of the time, an addict will stop using when they reach the end of the rope and have no other options. Any form of help or escape will keep the addict using for that much longer. Allowing the addict to come to the point of wanting to recover can be hard. Having support in this process is important and can make the difference in whether or not the addict embraces recovery. Knowing what to do and how to help goes against many cultural and popular beliefs for loved ones and needs a supportive team to practice. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are a good source of support, along with treatment options and therapy. Once the addict determines that they want to get help for their drug problem, there are ways that family members and friends can be helpful and supportive to their recovery process. This begins with allowing the addict to get to the point of asking for help. Many times, they will not be ready to stop using drugs or alcohol until they have paid some price for their use. This may come in the form of legal or social consequences that are difficult to watch happen. However, it may be necessary to allow this occur in order to get the message across to the addict.