Helping a loved one with an addiction can prove to be a difficult balancing act. It is not for the faint of heart and requires constant shifting between offering unconditional support, hope, and encouragement while simultaneously being willing to allow the addict to be accountable for their actions. If you are helping someone on the road to recovery, do your best to avoid self-blame. Setting healthy boundaries and doing what you can to avoid becoming a codependent is extremely important for your health and sanity.
Remember that as much as you support and encourage addiction treatment and recovery, you will never be able to force an addict to change. No matter how much or how well you try to love an addict, the choice to change and fight their addiction must come from within themselves; you are merely a cheerleader.
The sooner you accept your role as a gentle support to your loved one, instead of their coach, liberator, or savior, the better. A support role means that you lovingly hold them responsible for consequences of past, present, and future actions and thoughts rather than stepping in to save the day because you cannot stomach to see them fail or falter; you must let them experience disappointment and possibly failure if that is what their actions bring about.
Anyone Can Develop An Addiction
When supporting your loved one, it is important to understand that everyone, including yourself, can develop an addiction. It can happen to people of all backgrounds, rich and poor, and even all ages. See the “Anyone Can Become Addicted to Drugs” video below from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA).
General Resources For Loved Ones
There are several resources that can help your loved one overcome addiction, including about 3,500 board certified physicians who specialize in addiction in the United States. Below are some general resources that will be helpful to you as you start down the road of recovery with a loved one.
- How To Recognize Addictive Behaviors
- What Is Addiction?
- A Guide to Understanding Addiction
- How Shame Fuels Addiction
- How To Hold an Intervention
- Codependence and Co-addict
- Stages of Addiction Treatment
- New Methods of Treating Addictions
- Dual Diagnosis: Treating Drug Addiction and Mental Illness
- Residential Rehab or Outpatient Treatment: How to Decide?
- What You Should Know About 12-Step Programs
- Addiction Rehabilitation and Recovery
- Importance of Staying in Recovery
- Major Causes of Relapse After Treatment
- Addiction Resources: Where Can I Find Help?
Resource For Parents of Children With Addictions
- Most Commonly Abused Drugs Among Teenagers
- Convincing Kids to Avoid the Temptation of Street Drugs
- What Your Teens Don’t Want You To Know
- Teen Drug Abuse: Signs, Prevention, and Discussion
- Drug Test FAQs for Parents
If you are worried that your loved one may have an addiction and you are unsure of what steps you should take, call our advisors and they will recommend treatment options that may work for you and our loved one. Call 1-800-259-1361