Strategies for Helping Your Loved One Manage Drug and Alcohol Issues
10% of American adults have drug use disorder at some point in their lives. Sadly, many of them don’t seek help for their addiction issues.
If you’ve noticed signs of substance abuse in your loved one, then you might be worried about their well-being. You want to help them before they reach rock bottom, but you’re not sure how to.
Push too hard, and they’ll be resistant to recovery. But be too soft, and they’ll keep using it anyway.
How can you support your loved one on the path to sobriety? Read on for some effective strategies.
If you don’t have experience with the substance(s) of choice, then your loved one’s behaviors might seem strange and outrageous. So it’s good to read up on what the substances do, both mentally and physically.
You still might not understand 100% what they’re going through, but at least you’ll have some explanations for their actions. For example, if they have huge mood swings, it’s usually because they’re going through withdrawal symptoms and then feel better when they score their next hit. This can make navigating these varying moods easier.
Seeing the person you love abuse substances isn’t pleasant. Understandably, you might feel angry that they’re doing this to themselves.
However, taking out that anger on them isn’t constructive at all. The experienced staff at olympusrecovery.com/insurance/tricare/ say that blaming or shaming them isn’t great either. This will just make your loved one feel scared and alone.
Even if they’re not ready to take any steps toward recovery, you should show them lots of love and support. Let your loved one know that they’re worthy of love and that you’ll be there every step of the way.
When you’re there giving them positivity and encouragement, this will make your loved one more receptive to treatment and sobriety.
Create a Safe Environment
If you’re living together, then do everything you can to create a safe environment. This might mean that you remove all alcohol and drugs from the premises and that you don’t partake either.
A safe environment also means setting boundaries. This is with yourself, your loved one, and your friends.
If people won’t give up substance use, then don’t have them in the house if they’re actively using. And if your loved one is trying to bargain with you to get more drugs, stand firm. It’s tough, but once they realize you’re serious about boundaries, it’ll get easier.
Address Underlying Issues
This can be a tender and sore subject, but the majority of people with substance abuse issues have underlying problems. They’ll use alcohol and drugs as an escape from trauma, mental health issues, and stress (usually financial).
You’ll want to tread carefully and still acknowledge that there’s something driving your loved one to use. Let them know that they don’t necessarily have to open up to you. You can help them find support resources.
If they’re not ready to take action, then that’s ok. You can ask them again later, without being overbearing.
Encourage Them to Get Treatment
There’s only so much you and your loved one can do by yourselves. While some substance abuse issues are minor enough and can be resolved, often, they require outside assistance.
There are rehab centers that cater to the needs of people like your loved one. They employ experienced and compassionate staff members, such as doctors, nurses, therapists, and counselors.
If the person you love doesn’t want to go to rehab yet, then have them try therapy first. There’s even outpatient rehab that doesn’t require them to stay at the facility full-time. This can pave the way for them to eventually go to inpatient rehab and be immersed in a healing environment.
Don’t Forget about Self-Care
We often forget about ourselves when tending to the needs of our loved ones, and it can be an emotionally draining task. But if you’re running on empty, how are you going to be of any use?
You might feel guilty about self-care, but don’t be. It’s exactly what you need to rest and recharge.
Self-care activities can be simple and good for your health at the same time. So don’t be afraid to indulge! When you’re energized, it’ll be beneficial for everyone.
Seek Your Own Outside Help
Substance abuse can be a complicated matter, especially when you’re not experiencing it firsthand. While you only have the best intentions, you might be struggling.
In this case, consider seeking your own outside assistance. For instance, you can work through your thoughts with a therapist, or you can ask for resources from an intervention specialist or substance abuse counselor.
There are even support groups for people who have loved ones dealing with substance abuse. Not only can you hear other people’s experiences and not feel so alone, but you can also get guidance from those who have been in your shoes.
We’re not going to lie: recovery is a very long process,and any person would lose their patience. We recommend you practice better patience and understanding so you can be the strong support your loved one needs.
It’s beneficial for both of you to focus on the positive things and small victories. That way, patience will come naturally, and you’ll find reserves of patience, support, and encouragement for your loved one.
If you ever feel like you aren’t able to handle a situation, it’s perfectly fine to briefly step away. Coming back more level-headed will help you avoid negative experiences.
Help Your Loved One Get Sober
Witnessing your loved one spiral out of control is never easy. However, substance abuse can take off in a blink of an eye, so you need to be ready for it.
By being your loved one’s support system, you can encourage them to get the help they need. Just remember to take care of yourself still, and to be patient and supportive. If you keep these points in mind, then there will always be a light at the end of the tunnel.
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