5 Things To Understand While Helping a Loved One Through Addiction
Most people that have supported a loved one through addiction will tell you that it doesn’t just affect the person that’s addicted. It has a tendency to have a far-reaching impact on family and friends because of the way in which an addict often behaves. Below are five things you should understand and do when helping someone you love through addiction.
1. Getting Educated on Addiction
While there’s a lot of information out in the world about addiction, most people don’t truly understand the impact until they themselves have experienced addiction or until they have a loved one that’s addicted. Making an intentional effort to learn about addiction will likely save you from experiencing common frustrations when supporting someone with addiction. Whether you read a book or listen to a podcast, having knowledge about addiction is valuable.
2. Identifying Support Organizations
Instead of trying do everything on your own, seek out support organizations for help. There are nonprofit organizations like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon that can provide you with useful tools and direction. The resources provided will relate to the type of addiction your loved one is experiencing.
3. Understanding the Value of Counseling
When it comes to addiction counseling, it isn’t just for the addict. Whenever you’re dealing with a difficult and serious issue like addiction, counseling is worthy of consideration. It’s the reason why many employers offer an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) in addition to regular health insurance. In fact, there’s a chance that your health insurance provider will pay for a limited number of counseling sessions, in addition to EAP program benefits.
4. Not Becoming an Enabler
When you love someone that’s addicted, it’s easy to support them in a way that isn’t necessarily beneficial, although well meaning. It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease and should be handled with the seriousness of any medical condition. Experts often encourage loved ones not to provide financial support because it prevents the addict from experiencing the consequences, which can prevent recovery.
5. Establishing Realistic Expectations
If you’re someone that likes to get things done, it’s normal to want to resolve the issue of addiction by constantly communicating with the addict about what they should do. Unfortunately, most addicts are not in a mental space to even hear what you say. It’s easy to take their response personal, which is why it’s best to have realistic expectations. Even people that were once reliable and trustworthy often become unreliable, which can get frustrating over a period of time. Support resources can help you understand what you should and shouldn’t do.