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Approaching a Family Member About a Drug Problem

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If you suspect that a loved one is experiencing addiction issues or using drugs, you may feel helpless as to what to do to help the situation. If you suspect that someone in your family has a drug or alcohol problem, there are some ways to offer and encourage help, while keeping the issue from impacting your own life and well-being. Here are a few things to keep in mind when approaching your loved one about addiction issues.

Communication

Approaching a loved one that you suspect has substance abuse issues is tricky. First, they may become defensive or argumentative, which doesn’t make the discussion as productive as it could be. Avoid telling the individual what they “should” do, and instead, make the conversation about what you will do to end the cycle of addiction. It can be helpful to consult with a professional counselor or interventionist to discover techniques for confronting the person, without it becoming a power struggle.

Intervention

When you approach your loved one to inform them that you are aware of their issue, this is considered an intervention. A successful intervention concludes with the addicted admitting to the problem and agreeing to seek treatment. It is important to have treatment options in line so that there is no period in-between for the person to use or return to their old behaviors. Talking with an experienced interventionist, and even having them accompany you during the process, is a wise move to make.

Boundaries

People with addiction issues are gifted at pushing boundaries and creating co-dependence in the personal relationships among a family unit. This is not to say that it is entirely their fault, but that all family members play a role in the unique dynamics of each family. Establish and stick to boundaries that will not facilitate the person’s use or drug abuse any longer. Whether this equates to discontinued financial support, asking them to move out of your home, or refusing to engage as long as they are using are some boundaries that may be effective at pushing them toward treatment. The most important thing to remember is that once you set a boundary, you need to stick to it.

Guidance

According to Bay Area Recovery (www.bayarearecovery.com), reach out to a licensed drug or alcohol counselor for advice on the best way to handle and address the addiction of your loved one. While you may not be able to force them into getting well, you can heal yourself and learn better ways to cope with this person’s illness of addiction. You can’t always control what others do or don’t do, but you can change the ways that you respond to and react to this individual.

Treatment

Inpatient treatment is the most effective way to get the individual help immediately. This should be in place prior to an intervention, to avoid complacency later on and the need to re-enact the intervention again. For instance, if you are looking for addiction treatment in Houston, seek out a licensed residential setting that will get the person out of their current environment and into a healthier, new setting for recuperation.

Support

Offer your loved one undying support if they seek treatment but refuse to contribute to their self-destructive lifestyle any longer. This may mean helping them while they are away in treatment, or offering to watch their children while they attend support groups. There are some excellent groups for family members of addicted individuals, and these venues will teach you the skills needed to cope with addiction and the havoc it will wreak on the family unit.

The most important things to remember when a loved one has a drug or alcohol issue is to offer unconditional love and support, while abstaining from any activity or assistance that will contribute to their addiction. This may involve some “tough love”, and will require firm personal boundaries. The road to healing involves all members of the family, and starts with open communication and a tangible treatment plan in place.

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