Addiction comes in various forms, but the one thing that all addictions have in common is that they can completely ruin a person’s life. This can be a very difficult thing to navigate if you are someone who is watching it happen from the outside. Breaking the cycle of addiction might seem simple enough to somebody who has never been in the thralls of it, but until you have lived a life of addiction, you can’t possibly imagine the kind of effort and life change that it takes to turn a corner.
Something that you can do, as a friend, family member, or loved one, is make sure that you are there for the addicted person is any way that they might need you. Rehab facilities are able to handle the intricacies and scientific details of things like withdrawal and detox, but when it comes to emotional support, that is where you can step in to be of assistance. With that in mind, here are some ways that you can help a loved one who is suffering from addiction.
Listen To Them
When you are trying to help someone with addiction, it can be very easy to sit them down and give them a full speech that you have prepared in order to get all of your feelings and frustrations out. This might be helpful for you but doing that and that alone is certainly not helpful for the addicted person. You need to be better at listening than you are at talking in these situations, because your loved one is going to have a lot of thoughts and feelings that need to be heard and brought out into the open before any progress can start to be made. It is key that you understand their side of things before trying to come up with ways to help them.
Talk To Them
Don’t be afraid to sit down with them and have those difficult conversations. A topic like addiction is never going to produce a nice, easy talking point, but the only way that you are going to be able to get through to your loved one on any level is to commit to opening yourself up to hearing and talking about their experiences up to this point. The longer they keep all of these thoughts to themselves, the longer their behavior will continue unchecked.
Show Tough Love
Whilst it is going to be the job of the rehab professionals to really dig deep and do that hard work with your loved one, you still shouldn’t be afraid of exercising tough love when it is needed. So many addictions grow and get worse because the people around the addicted person are too afraid to step in and say the wrong thing or cause an argument that might spiral into even worse addiction. You have to strike the right balance in your tone, but sometimes tough love is the only way to show you care that can actually get through to the person.
Leave The Door Open
There may be a time in the cycle of addiction that you have to limit or cut off entirely the contact that you have with the addicted loved one, for your own safety and the safety of others you are responsible for. This can sometimes be the shock to the system that they need to start the road to recovery, but it is important that you always leave the door open for them to come back into your life when they are in a better place. People do crazy things when they are in the grip of addiction, and you can’t possibly hold them to account for all of their actions when under the influence.
Whilst trying to build bridges and help the situation with an addict, it is important that you find time to indulge in self-care to keep your own mind and body in good condition. It can be very draining to try to help someone in the grip of addiction, and you need to make sure that you are in the best place to be able to offer assistance.
Just like there is professional help for addicts, there is support available to those dealing with/living with addicts. Use this support, it will help you both.