Watching someone we love struggle through a battle with addiction will never be easy to endure. There is constantly the thought of what can be done to help lodged in the back of our brains. Loved ones of addicts often feel helpless.
As a result, people tend to cross the line between helping and enabling. The key to actually helping an addict is to not actually help at all. It may seem a bit confusing, but keep the faith, we are here to help.
Take a moment to read through this short overview highlighting a few constructive ways to help an addicted loved one without enabling and contributing to their drug use.
Doing nothing is the best thing to do
By doing nothing, we mean avoid cleaning up after an addict. Stop building a comfy cushion for an addicted loved one to fall gently into after they abuse themselves. Do not provide money or assistance in any way when they need something pertaining to their addiction.
Think of it this way. A mother told her daughter to make her bed before school every day for a month. When the daughter neglected to make her bed, the mother would do it for her. The pattern continued indefinitely.
Why would the daughter ever feel the need to make her bed if the mother is always going to do it for her? Why would an addict ever stop using and seek out treatment if everything they need to survive is simply provided for them?
Seek out peer groups for support
The best way to educate oneself on how to handle their addicted loved one is to surround themselves with other who understand the struggle. Even though 12-step programs are typically considered something for addicts to attend, there are plenty of support groups for those who love and live with the addict.
Try finding a local Al-Anon meeting. Al-Anon was formed specifically to provide a supportive and healing community of people for those who have struggled alongside an addicted loved one or family member.
Talk openly about the “shift”
It is important that an addict understand how the drugs change their outward effect on the people around them. Perspective is a powerful concept for a person stuck in a world of drug use. Choose a time to speak openly with the individual when they will likely be sober.
No one thinks outside of their own selfishness while they focused on getting high. Openly explain to the addicted loved one that some things will be changing, and that the changes are from a place of love as opposed to spite or anger.
Make certain to follow through with planned changes, and hold steady. Avoid making excuses for an addict’s outrageous behaviors, and focus on rejecting the addiction… not the person.