Today we have a lovely guest blog post written by the wonderful Trey Dryer.
It did not help when I yelled at him. It did not help when I would ignore it and thought it would eventually work itself out. It did not help when I told my parents what was happening. My brother’s drug addiction was severe, and nothing my parents or I did ever seemed to have an effect on his substance use. To really help my brother overcome his addiction, we had to admit he needed professional help first.
Navigating the roadmap of helping a loved one suffering from addiction can be a daunting process. It was for me, and it is for thousands of families across the U.S. However, there are ways to get a loved one help. For individuals trying to help a loved one overcome a substance addiction, the following steps can be a great place to start.
In order to address a loved one’s substance addiction, one must first accept that their loved one is sick and needs treatment. Often times, it is difficult for individuals to accept that their loved one needs to get professional treatment, as they want to believe that their loved one can quit on their own.
Eliminating this notion and recognizing a loved one needs professional help is the first step to helping that individual reach recovery. There is no changing the past; there is no preventing substance abuse that has already occurred. Realizing a loved one needs to move forward with treatment is crucial to overcoming an addiction.
Stage an Intervention
Confronting a loved one struggling with addiction can be nerve-racking; however, it could also be the moment that changes that person’s life.
Those staging an intervention for a loved one need to provide love and support in a safe environment. Being prepared and knowing exactly what to say to a loved one with a substance addiction before the intervention takes place is crucial.
Additionally, those staging an intervention need to keep a calm and collected demeanor even if their loved one becomes emotionally charged during the interaction. There is no place for anger or chastising in an intervention. The individual must know that those staging the intervention are not mad or disappointed with them; they just want to see the individual get better.
Most importantly, it is imperative to tell the suffering loved one that those staging the intervention care about them and want to see them get help and overcome their addiction.
Love and Support
Undoubtedly, there will be times the recovering individual feels low or down. Having a strong support system and knowing people love them can make the treatment process easier and may ultimately lead to long-term sobriety.
Encourage Good Habits
Adjusting to life after rehab treatment is difficult. Relapse is common among recovering individuals and avoiding drug or alcohol cravings can be hard to manage after finishing substance treatment.
Receiving encouragement for good life decisions and for avoiding substance use can be a great motivator for individuals recovering from an addiction. Giving a recovering loved one compliments, or telling them how proud their family and friends are of how they have handled their treatment encourages the individual to continue to work toward sobriety.
Individuals frequently face extreme obstacles when trying to overcome addiction. Many of those with a substance addiction have a co-occurring mental disorder such as PTSD or a personality disorder. They may be dealing with symptoms of the disorder and substance abuse, making recovery even more difficult.
Others may be trying to balance their life responsibilities, such as work or raising children, while simultaneously trying to reach sobriety. It is important to be understanding and caring throughout an individual’s recovery.
No treatment plan is the same. No path to recovery is the same. Each individual goes through a different process, but having an understanding and loving support system gives that individual the best chance at a healthy and substance-free life.