It’s never you, it’s always someone else. It’s in the movies, in a different home, a different environment, but it’s certainly not you, or anyone you know. The stigma surrounding drug abuse perseveres no matter how far we’ve come as a civilization. Whether we’re driven by pure fear, shame, or insecurity, we still hope that addiction is somewhat of a fiction. However, the cruel truth is that in 2017 alone, one in eight adults in the US struggled with alcohol and drug use at the same time.
To put it in perspective: it’s not in the movies. It’s here, and it’s everyone’s problem. If you discover that your loved one is dealing with this vicious disease, you need to step up and do whatever you can to help them recover when they are ready. Here are the four ways you can help them on this journey to recovery.
Since we are dealing with a crisis of epidemic proportions, you’ll be able to find plenty of information online, as well as in your local health centers on the specific type of addiction your loved one is dealing with. Whether they have admitted to having an issue, which is a truly significant step forward, or you have your suspicions due to certain symptoms, you need to make sure you know everything you possibly can.
Armed with knowledge, best methods to approach the disease, and with credible sources to back your own attitude, you can begin to devise a system that will help them cope and hopefully recover. This will also help you learn how to manage your own emotions that naturally overwhelm you during the ordeal.
Look for a support system
Above all, your loved one dealing with drug abuse needs structure in their lives so as to have a reliable routine that prevents relapses. Structure in all forms is key in helping them build and lead a healthier life in the future, as well. For starters, the US and Canada are both brimming with institutions where treatment is readily available for addicts. You can find a respected California rehab center that can provide medical treatment as well as counseling for addicts to help them start their lives anew.
Additionally, visiting anonymous groups to talk about the issue can help them understand they are not alone, and that there are others that can help them on their road to recovery.
Now that you have found the best facility for your loved one, the finest support groups, and you know enough about the subject – you have also learned that your role in the process is not a minor one. And you cannot stay immune to the emotional turmoil that happens when you find out that a loved one suffers from addiction.
That is why you need to take care of yourself as well, so that you can stay able to take care of the family member in question. You need time and proper psychological tools to handle and process the emotions you’re feeling, anything from guilt, shame, disappointment, and anger often happen as a result of such situations. However, you need to make sure you’re not “venting” on the person struggling with addiction, and that you have a system of your own to persevere.
Mind your language
The love and responsibility you feel may cause you to use harsh words and judge the person dealing with addiction. This, however, can only have an adverse effect on their health, confidence, and for your relationship. While you’re not expected to condone and support their behavior, you need to express compassion and not impose guilt.
When you have concerns, talk to them. Ask them questions to let them know you care and you want to be there for them. Let them confide in you, and do your best to set clear expectations as to the behavior you won’t support. They need to know there are limitations, but even in those circumstances, you need to make sure that they understand the reasoning behind it, without resorting to a judgmental tone.
Remember, addiction is a treatable disease, one we know so much about. With so much support, knowledge, and science to back you up, you certainly have the means to help your loved ones persevere.