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Supporting Your Loved One With an Addiction

Addiction is no laughing matter.

This is a serious issue that affects millions of people all over the world. If one of your family members has a problem with drugs or alcohol, you might be asking yourself: What is the approach I should take to best help an addict? Will being aggressive about it just make the problem worse? Does taking a more relaxed approach just enable further negative behavior?

Be Understanding and Supportive

Understand that your loved one may not think their addiction is a problem. They may be oblivious (or choose to ignore) to the numerous problems it can be causing for the rest of the family. They could believe that since their drug use is done in private, no one really notices the changes in them.

This is common. When you confront a loved one about an addiction, they will usually become defensive, or aggressive. Be understanding with the situation and offer as much familial support as possible.

Get involved. Offer to research different programs, both outpatient and inpatient, with them. Help them decide which treatment option is best for them. Show them you care about their health and future, and let them know in a non-accusatory way how their addiction has strained relationships within the family.

Make it as easy as possible. Offer to care for pets and plants if they do enter an inpatient program. Sometimes just knowing things will be taken care of at home is all a person needs to enter rehab.

Encourage the Change and Remain Aware

Once a person has been in treatment for a certain period of time and they start to improve, they may feel they’re hit their peak level of improvement and they’re ready to leave early. However, an addiction cannot simply be turned on and off like a light switch.

It’s going to require a lifelong effort to stay sober. All it takes is one trigger, one slip-up, to put you right back to square one. Let them know how you proud you are of them for being brave enough to accept that they need help, and encourage your loved one to remain in therapy or an inpatient program for the entire duration.

After they’ve completed treatment, be vigilant and keep a look out for any potential red-flags that might arise. Some people find it relatively easy to turn their lives around after one treatment, while others have a lot of trouble not reverting to old habits. As a family, keep an eye on your loved one so you intervene before it’s too late.

Together, you can move forward to a drug and alcohol-free life.