Let’s face it, within the last two plus years with economic struggle, quarantine, and other effects of the pandemic constantly pressing on our daily lives. Being at home for this long period of time has caused our collective mental health to be strained. Our coping mechanisms and support systems that were previously keeping us healthy to literally disappear overnight. Situations like these intensify the need for outlets that aren’t always positive which can lead to addiction.
It’s heartbreaking to see a loved one struggling with addiction. You want to help them overcome the habit, but you don’t know how to. There are so many ways to support someone who has an addiction, and it all starts with understanding the different types of addictions out there. In this blog post, we will go over a few of the different kinds of addictions and offer tips for how you can best provide support to your loved ones!
A Few Faces Of Addiction
Each one of the different addictions has a different effect on families. For example, a prevalent type of addiction is alcohol addiction, which can cause fights between family members and even lead to violence. Another type of addiction is a drug addiction, which can tear families apart as the addict becomes increasingly isolated from loved ones to feed their habit. There is also a growing problem with technology addictions, such as gambling or pornography addictions, which can ruin relationships and damage families financially. More often, the addicts need help from their family members, supporting them in the difficult road they face when trying to get their lives back together.
One Day Up, One Day Down
No one said that supporting a loved one through addiction would be easy. In fact, it can often be quite daunting. There will be many ups and downs along the way, so you need to be prepared for anything. Be there for them when they need you, but know when to give them some space. Be understanding and not judgmental when they have a terrible day.
Allow them to make their own choices, even if they are not the ones you would have made in their position.
Remind them frequently how much they mean to you. They may well be feeling very alone right now. Make sure that you take care of yourself and your own needs, too, because it can be overwhelming for you when someone is entirely reliant on you. Above all else, remember that your support means everything to your loved one.
Do Not Expect Immediate Change
Do not get angry if they don’t change right away because it takes time for them to realize there is a problem and make the steps towards recovery.
They may need more attention than before. The person might even act like their old selves again when you give them too much of your support or do things for them that they could be doing independently. You will know if this happens with your loved one. Just pay close attention to how often they are using drugs/alcohol compared to before the intervention.
If you see changes being made, then continue helping out where possible. But let them have some space to feel independent again, which is crucial during addiction treatment, so relapse doesn’t occur. On the other hand, if there are no changes, then you might need to take a step back for a little bit and let them hit rock bottom before intervening again. Addicts will often relapse during the treatment process if they feel like they aren’t capable of doing things on their own or feel too much pressure from loved ones.
Learn About The Addiction
If you want to help the person with the addiction, you must educate yourself on the particular addiction. There are many different types of addictions. Each one can require a different approach to helping the individual. It is also essential to understand that addiction is a disease and not a choice made by the person affected. This means that you should be patient and understanding when working with someone struggling with an addiction.
There are many resources available to help you learn more about addiction, how to support a person, and which facilities to send them to if need be. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and Sunshine Behavioral Health provide comprehensive information on all types of addictions and resources for family members and friends of individuals struggling with addiction.
It Is A Life-Long Road
As previously mentioned, the person you are supporting might relapse more than once. So you, as the supporter, will have to make a lifelong commitment towards your loved one fighting to get their life back on track. Even for sober people, finding stability in their everyday life is complicated. The path to recovery takes time, patience, and lots of understanding and love. But in the end, if you see that person happily living their best life yet, it will be so rewarding to you as well.
Relapse is a part of recovery. So don’t give up on someone just because it’s difficult at times or things don’t always go according to plan.
Until our next rendezvous…