Four Ways to Help a Family Member Addicted to Drugs
The effects of alcohol or drug addiction can be absolutely devastating for a family. These substances harm the mind and body of the user, as well as his or her ties and relationships with those around them. Many times, family members want more than anything to help someone move away from the grip of addiction, but do not know how. Often, these same well-meaning family members only serve to push a person deeper into addiction by doing all the wrong things.
Identify, but don’t analyze
If you are worried about someone you love, the first step is to do your best to privately identify the problem. Observe your loved one and determine whether drugs, alcohol, or both are in play. This lets you know what you are dealing with as you go along.
From there, take a step back. Do not harp on underlying causes of the addiction. It is tempting to start badgering him or her about why the behavior is occurring, but in too many cases that turns the issue into a constant fight. Making the addiction about you and your feelings is a sure way to drive your loved one away.
Get an education
Once the addiction is identified, do your research. Talk to a medical professional and consult reputable, medically based journals and websites. Learn the characteristics of an addict, and what you can expect. Learn what help is available, and what you can do to encourage your loved one to seek assistance.
Show healthy love and support
Let your addicted friend or family member become aware that you know there is a problem, but do not become a lifeline. Make it clear that you do not condone the behavior and will not provide financial backing.
In a great many cases, family members of addicts turn to threats and lectures to try to make the addict want to seek help. These same family members tend to help to the addict at every turn, bailing him out of jail and other troubles when asked. It is incredibly difficult, but allow the addict you love to generate his own criminal defense with the help of a lawyer if it becomes necessary.
Seek your own counseling
Finally, do not underestimate the power of personal improvement. Look into counseling programs for friends, spouses, and family members of addicts. These programs can help you learn to communicate more effectively with those who have a problem or addiction, and how to help him or her along every step taken toward recovery.