How To Help an Addict: 5 Valuable Tips
If someone you love has finally come out with their addiction, you may be left wondering how you can support them through the process of recovery. These 5 tips can help you get started on how to help an addict in your life.
Keyword(s): Primary: how to help an addict - Secondary: how to help someone with addiction, help with addiction, how to help someone with drug addiction, help addiction, how to love an addict
According to the surgeon general, roughly 45 million Americans (1 out of every 7) have or will struggle with some form of addiction in their life.
If you have a friend or a loved one who is part of that large group, you may be wondering what you can do to help.
After all, loving an addict and providing the support they need while not enabling them can be one of the most difficult balancing acts you'll ever face in your life. It can also mean the difference between the person you know getting well or staying sick.
Below are important tips on how to help an addict. They will help you build a productive relationship with the person in your life who needs help recovering from their struggles with substance abuse.
1) Be Sympathetic, Not Critical
Many times, a person we love's addiction hurts us almost as much as it's hurting them. We ask ourselves what we could have done to prevent the addiction, we wonder why the person we know wasn't strong enough to not fall prey to it, etc.
That mixture of unproductive questions and hurt can lead to us being critical of an addict. It's important that you understand right now that someone struggling with addiction likely already knows what they're doing is destructive.
Addiction is a disease and after being in it for an extended period of time, it stops being a choice for those affected.
Making an addict feel worst then they already do will only serve to further perpetuate an addict's struggle and may drive them deeper into their behaviors.
Therefore, be compassionate. Level with the addict you love. Tell them that you don't blame them and that you just want them to get healthy.
Leading addiction confrontations with love will have a deep impact on the results you get with an addict.
2) Get Informed
The better informed you are with regard to the addiction the person you know is dealing with, the better suited you are to help.
Learn how to identify signs of use of the substance they're addicted to. Know the dangers involved with use so you can get them emergency help if needed. Also, know what treatment options are available in your area and how to get the person you know enrolled in those programs.
Having a wealth of knowledge you can share in an organic way with an addict will help them realize that they have options and they're not stuck.
It will also help you assist them in case they run into a dire health situation.
3) Set Healthy Boundaries
With addiction, kind-hearted people we know can get consumed by their need. This often leads to them taking advantage of situations and people they normally wouldn't take advantage of.
If you're wondering how to help an addict, one of the most important things you can do right away is let them know where your lines stand and the consequences of crossing those lines.
If an addict lives in your home, make it clear that there will be no substance use in your house. Let them know that violating that rule is grounds for expulsion.
You can also make it clear that given the legal implications of having controlled substances in your home, drugs are not to be stored on your property.
The above rules are just examples but the point is to make sure you're not allowing anything that's perpetuating negative behaviors or undermining your integrity.
It's important when setting boundaries to not come off as aggressive.
Boundary setting should come from a place of love and mutual understanding. If your boundaries come off as threats, you will likely only create more animosity in your relationship with your friend or family member and cause them to use more.
4) Stage an Intervention
If you've been trying to be subtle about guiding someone you know into treatment and it hasn't worked, an intervention may be your best best.
An intervention is comprised of a group of people led by an interventionist who have an interest in an addict's health. These people all come together in an intervention to confront the addict in a loving way.
Interventions are typically done by surprise so an addict has no choice but to hear what people have to say.
The goal of an intervention should always be to get an addict into treatment.
5) Offer Treatment
Whether you offer treatment in conversion, through an intervention or via any other way, you should always have a plan ready.
Many addicts become overwhelmed by all of the questions surrounding going to rehab. Things like how will they manage their work or home responsibilities, what are the costs of rehab, etc.
If you've done the groundwork to answer these questions and make it so all an addict has to do to get help is say yes, you significantly increase the chances of helping your loved one get well again.
Wrapping Up How to Help an Addict
Many people all over the country are dealing with a family member or friend struggling with addiction. The top question on those people's minds is often how to help an addict?
If you're looking for ways to help the addict you know reclaim their lives from addiction, practice the tips listed above.
These tips just scratch the surface so continue to look for resources and get creative when trying to get the person you know the help they need. Remember, everything you do to help an addict should be focused on getting them professional rehabilitation help.
Doing so will significantly improve their chances of both getting and staying clean from the substance they're abusing.
Have more questions about how to help an addict? Our addiction support team is here to help.
At Addiction Advocates, we help people from all walks of life get the information they need to beat their addictions and find quality rehabilitation services.
Learn more about the treatment we specialize in helping addicts receive today. Let us work to help the person you love get back to the life they're meant to be living.