How To Help An Addict
Do you know someone who suffers from addiction? Are you wondering how to support them without becoming an enabler? Should you just send them off to a residential treatment program near you? How can you help an addict?
These and many other questions run through your mind when you know an addict. It doesn’t matter what their drug of choice is, you find it hard to deal with the situation.
It’s understandable to find this task challenging. On one hand, you wish to deal with the situation as calmly as possible. On the other hand, you get frustrated when all your efforts seemingly go to waste. You also don’t like the way their addiction has changed their personality and your relationship.
So you feel like you’re standing at a crossroads of sorts.
Should you leave that person? Or hang on to them for the long haul?
The answer isn’t that straightforward.
In most cases, it’s hard to break ties with an addict, especially if they’re a partner, family member or close friend. At times like these, experts suggest that we use ‘compassion’ as a tool for healing them and letting them know that you’re there for them.
We know that it’s easier said than done. That’s why we’ve created a step-by-step guide that helps you to support the addict in a tactful yet compassionate manner.
Let’s look at all the different things you can do to help an addict:
Phase 1: Being Supportive
1. Stop Judging
Let’s get one thing straight―you can’t be judgmental when you’re dealing with an addict.
Your criticism, harsh words, and frustration can cause them to close off. It could cause additional pain and stress in their lives. This is something that could only lead to more addiction. Moreover, most addicts don’t seek help from the people they love because they’re ashamed of their addiction.
Even if they’ve started taking steps towards sobriety, they might relapse if you undermine their efforts.
So the best way to handle this scenario is by being neutral. You should express how much you care for them and accept them as they are. Your positive attitude and encouragement could be the very thing that stops them from using again.
2. Lend Your Ears
“Human beings have a deep need to bond and form connection”
This quote is from an interesting Huffpost article that labels loneliness as the biggest cause of addiction. If we think about it, the writer is on to something. Many addicts start using drugs, alcohol, weed, and other substances because of peer pressure or depression. This is indirectly linked with their ‘need to bond’ with people around them or their inability to do so.
That’s why you should start paying attention to an addict. You can do this by hanging out with them more often or talking to them regularly. In these situations, you shouldn’t prompt them to talk about addiction. Rather try to stay alert and actively listen to their rants and problems. Those discussions might lead you to the real reason why they started abusing.
Later, when they’re up for it, you can discuss these things with them and find out a way to resolve those issues. Subsequently, this might suppress their urge to use their addiction to fill the void.
3.Slow And Steady
Always remember that recovery from addiction won’t happen overnight. Addicts in rehab may relapse as soon as they get out of the system or months later. That’s why you stay alert and on guard at all times to prevent history from repeating.
Additionally, when you see an addict trying to make attempts to stay sober then you should encourage them. However, there’s no need to look disappointed or angry if they can’t keep up with this resolution. Addiction is very complicated and it’s hard to get rid of. So the only thing that you can do is to support them patiently as they try to recover.
Phase 2: Intervention
1. The Balancing Act
It’s important to note that getting through to an addict is just the first step. Your next move should be to try to stop them from using. The problem is that this individual may still be in denial about how bad the situation is. Or they would like to handle the issue independently.
It’s crucial that you respect their needs and not force them to do something they don’t want to. Otherwise, they may go back into their shell.
How do you support without crossing any lines?
Here’s a hint:
- Avoid confronting them when they mess up.
- Set boundaries to prevent them from using your relationship as a means to stay under influence.
- Stop giving them money or offering help if they consistently go back to their choice of addiction.
- Protect your emotional health by giving them and yourself space when things escalate.
In short, let them understand that this habit has consequences. Eventually, they’ll realize how far they’ve gone and will make efforts to stay sober.
2. Call For Professional Help
What if you’ve hit a dead-end? Then it’s time to call in reinforcements!
Our experience as an addiction recovery center has taught us that intervention is necessary. You need to prepare yourself for this moment beforehand. You can try searching for the best drug and alcohol treatment programs in the area, seek consultation from specialists, or ask a family friend to get involved.
The idea is to create an effective plan to commence your loved one’s rehabilitation. You should do this by researching available options and including them in the discussion. The best strategy is to recommend support groups and rehab centers as gently as possible.
Pro tip: Avoid thrusting the decision upon them and allow them to make the final decision.
Phase 3: The Road to Recovery
1. Sobriety-Friendly Zone
It doesn’t matter if your loved one recently earned their first sobriety chip or has been out of rehab for years. It only takes one second for them to relapse.
That’s why we suggest that you create a sobriety-friendly zone for them at home. Like avoiding to bring drinks at home and keeping the medical cabinet locked at all times.
You the same approach in their social life too. For a recovering alcoholic this means avoiding clubbing, parties (with booze), and drinking in front of them. Moreover, they should minimize contact with other addicts in their lives.
The basic idea is to stop them from accessing places and finding things that could entice them.
2. Proactive Lifestyle
What else can you do to help an addict?
Drugs, alcohol, and weed are all ways of escapism. Some people confess that it’s a way for them to forget about their depression and stress. Others use it to pass time because they were bored or wanted company. Numerous other reasons induce this dependency.
Therefore, an effective way to prevent relapse is by encouraging the person to adopt healthier habits. It should be something that feels productive and keeps them busy.
- Meditation and yoga
- Joining a gym
- Learning a new skill
- Indulging in a hobby
In short, allow them to make lifestyle choices support sobriety.
In a Nutshell
In short, patience, compassion, and tact can help an addict recover. These may seem like small gestures, but they leave a powerful impact on their life. So start doing these things to assist them on their path to recovery and health.
Best of Luck!
Are you looking for professional intervention? Costa Rica Treatment Center is ready to assist and advise you in areas regarding alcoholism, drug abuse, and mental health. With our assistance, you and your loved one won’t have to fight this battle alone.