5 Ways to Help a Loved One Who’s Caught in Addiction

It’s hard watching a loved one struggle with addiction—not least because you can feel so helpless, so powerless. The truth is, there are always things you can do to help your loved one pursue recovery. Here are five suggestions.

Educate Yourself

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, the first thing you should do is study up on what addiction is and how it impacts behavior. Make sure you have a clear understanding of addiction as a mental health disorder—not as a character failing.

Encourage, But Don’t Enable

You can and should be there to offer love and support. Help out in any way you can, right up to the point of enabling—but don’t do anything that will promote further drug or alcohol abuse. For instance, it’s great to allow your loved one to stay with you, so long as he or she is a contributing member of the household—but you shouldn’t lie for your loved one, help cover up drug use, make excuses to employers, etc.

Maintain Your Own Mental Health

The truth is, having a loved one with addiction can be draining on you. Make sure you pursue healthy avenues of stress management; take time to rest; and have boundaries in place to protect your own mental wellbeing.

Urge Treatment

Exhort your loved one to seek clinical intervention—and offer to help them transition into detox and inpatient recovery however you can.

Stick with Them

Recovery is a lifelong process, and at times it can be really tough. Your loved one will need ongoing encouragement and support. Please don’t think that when you check them into detox, your work is over. In many ways, it’s just beginning.

Be a force of good in the life of your loved one—and help with those first steps toward a life of recovery.

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