Addiction is an illness
One of the most difficult things in life is to see a loved one succumb to an addiction. Drugs and alcohol abuse can rob a person of their life. A person can get so consumed by their addiction that they completely disappear.
Addiction also destroys relationships. The stress, anguish, and fear alone can take its toll, but trust issues and communication problems can make matters worse.
The most important thing to remember is not to lose faith if a loved one wants to overcome addiction. It’s a difficult road to travel, but there are ways you can help make the process easier and more successful.
Understand It’s an Illness
First and foremost, you have to understand that true addiction is a mental illness. Addiction can change the way the brain functions and skew perceived needs so that procuring drugs becomes the top priority. This leads to compulsive behavior that’s very difficult to control.
Addiction is considered drug dependence when it includes compulsive use, building tolerance and withdrawal.
Overcoming Addiction Means Treating the Whole Person
The experts at The River Source offer rehab in Arizona that focuses on healing people mentally, physically and spiritually. Their system of addressing all three has led to a remarkable 76% success rate.
Overcoming addiction requires an integrative approach that treats the whole person. Your loved one could get through the physical barriers, but if an unaddressed mental health issue is feeding the addiction relapse is highly likely. Spirituality is also critical since it’s connected with having a sense of purpose.
Be a Support System but Don’t Enable
Often people unknowingly enable an addicted loved one. It could be giving them money that ends up paying for drugs or alcohol. Enabling can happen when you give them rides to get their fix or watch a loved one’s children while they hang out with a destructive crowd.
Providing a support system for your loved one is vital, but enabling them is counterproductive. Create a supportive environment without enabling by:
- Communicating in an open, honest way.
- Creating boundaries by telling your loved one what you are and aren’t willing to do.
- Buying them necessities rather than giving them money.
- Being consistent in your expression of loving them and wanting to help.
- Focusing on the things you can do and control rather than the things you can’t do or control.
- Never making excuses for harmful, destructive or dangerous behavior.
- Having conversations about their addiction while they’re sober.
Promote Healthy Habits
The worst thing you could do is encourage situations that make it harder for the addict to resist urges. For example, if a loved one has an alcohol problem indulging in a beer or glass of wine when you go out to eat will be a huge temptation.
Promoting healthy habits instead comes with a number of benefits. For starters, if your loved one is in better physical health it makes recovery easier. No matter what type of illness you’re battling it’s important to take steps that will clean your lungs, strengthen your cardiovascular system and improve overall health.
Healthy habits can also be used as a replacement for bad habits. Changing routines and environments is key to breaking bad habits, which is why in-patient rehab facilities are often successful.
Last but not least, making an effort to lead by example and live a healthier lifestyle yourself can have a positive impact on your own physical wellbeing.
Get Help for Yourself
Expanding on the point above, you have to make your own health a priority. There’s no way you can help your loved one if you yourself aren’t mentally and physically healthy.
Joining a support group can be highly beneficial. It’s not uncommon for partners and family members of an addict to become withdrawn. Feelings of isolation can creep in and make the coping process that much more difficult. A support group will allow you to connect with others that understand what you’re going through and can provide the camaraderie you need to get through it.
It’s also easy to neglect your own health because you are so focused on the health of your loved one. This is a common trend among caregivers in general. Make sure to take time for yourself, stay on top of your own health needs and speak with a therapist if you are dealing with chronic stress.
Signs It’s Time to Get Professional Help
Some people are able to kick bad habits on their own, but it isn’t easy. Addiction is even more challenging. Sometimes outside help is needed to increase your loved one’s chances of success.
If all of your efforts to support a loved one and help them overcome addiction have made little headway it’s time to consider other options. When you see the things below it’s a sign that professional rehabilitation is needed:
- The frequency of their drug or alcohol use has increased.
- Their health has deteriorated.
- They’ve lost their job or can’t hold down a job.
- They’ve been arrested or had a run in with the law.
- They are lying about their actions and/or whereabouts.
- They are hiding drugs and/or alcohol.
The best thing you can do for a loved one that’s battling addiction is to support their recovery and get them the help they need. In some situations that means moving into a rehab facility for an extended period.