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How to Support an Alcoholic or Drug Addict

A father talks to his adult son while standing in a field.
There are many ways you can support your loved one through addiction.

Supporting a loved one who is battling addiction is like walking a tightrope. You have to be loving, but not enabling. You have to share your concerns, but not preach. You have to believe in your loved one, but also accept that recovery is an ongoing process.

In other words, you have to know what you’re doing. Here are five steps to help you keep your balance and your perspective during the challenge ahead.

1. Get Informed

Knowledge is more than power; it’s the key to understanding addiction. For various reasons, including genetics and mental health issues, some people are simply more susceptible than others. Understanding this is the first step to helping your loved one.

2. Find Addiction Support for Families

The stress, sadness and fear you feel when your loved one is battling addiction is intense. It’s said that addiction is a family disease and it’s true. Just like your loved one, you will benefit from help.

That help could take several forms. You could participate in a traditional support group like Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. Once your loved one enters rehab, you’ll also want to participate in family therapy. Lastly, you may find it helpful to meet with a therapist individually.

3. Offer Your Support Without Enabling

This is the tricky part for many. You’d give anything to help your loved one, but that doesn’t mean giving them what they want or think they need.

Don’t give your loved one money for drugs or alcohol, bail them out of jail, pay their rent or cover for them in anyway.

Do offer to get them help and work on keeping communication open so that they know they can come to you when they finally decide to make a change.

4. Don’t Wait for Rock Bottom

We used to believe a person had to hit “rock bottom” before they would be willing to change. So, if they still held a job or kept their marriage intact, rehab probably wouldn’t work.

We now know that isn’t true. And it’s a potentially deadly mistake.

The sooner someone gets to rehab, the easier their recovery will be. Don’t wait until your loved one has lost everything before encouraging rehab.

When is the right time? As soon as you see the signs of addiction.

5. Realize that Your Loved One Needs Help to Stop Using

Many people wonder why their loved ones don’t simply just stop using substances, which would solve everything. The reality is that addiction changes the brain, making it extremely difficult for most people to stop without help.

It’s not a lack of will power. The fact is that addiction is in the driver’s seat, and your loved one will likely need help taking back control of the wheel.

Healing at The Raleigh House

At The Raleigh House, we know that addiction isn’t just a physical problem. In fact, that’s almost the easy part. The hard part is finding out why you started drinking or using in the first place and then giving you the coping tools you need to survive and thrive without those crutches.

When you walk through our doors in Denver, you’ll be assigned your own master’s level trained therapist and, together, you’ll develop a strategy to manage and enjoy life without drugs or alcohol. Fill out our form or contact us today to learn more about our 90-day drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs.

Tap button to call The Raleigh House.

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