How To Be Human - Helping a Person Struggling With Addiction

Watching a loved one spiral out of control because of drug addiction is one of the hardest things a person can go through. Naturally, you'll want to help but do so safely and effectively. Understand that your actions, words, and energy can trigger a person's addiction. You also must protect your relationship to remain a confidant, a support system, and a friend. Here are tips on how to help a person struggling with a drug addiction:

How To Be Human- Helping a Person Struggling With an Addiction
[image: pexels by boris pavlikovsky]

How To Be Human- Helping a Person Struggling With a Drug Addiction (Image Credit Pexels)

Educate Yourself

Learning what you can about addiction helps you understand what your loved one is going through. As you will discover, this illness distorts their perceptions and affects their decision-making. Drug addiction is not a character flaw or a sign of weakness. It's a severe disease that requires professional treatment.

When well informed, you'll be able to go through different recovery programs and recommend the best one for your loved one. You'll also be better positioned to communicate to the person about their addiction and recovery. Enlightenment also helps you not to hate, resent or be judgmental, even if they make bad choices.

Promote Open and Honest Communication

You must establish open and honest communication to help a person struggling with a drug addiction. This is not always easy because the person may be in denial. They may also be ashamed and unwilling to talk about it. Learn how to talk to them in a non-judgmental way. Avoid lecturing, preaching, or being condescending.

Instead, listen carefully and express your concern in a caring way. If they're ready to talk, encourage them to share their feelings and experiences. It will also allow them to release the shame, pain, and anger they feel. Reassure the person that you'll support their recovery efforts. Never promise more than you can deliver.

Don't Enable Their Addiction

One of the worst things you can do is enable a person's addiction. It only makes it harder for them to recover. When you enable someone, you do things that make it easier for them to continue using drugs. For example, you may give them money to support their habit or make excuses for their behavior. 

You may also do things that take away the natural consequences of addiction, such as bailing the person from jail after a DUI. Enabling removes the motivation to change and get help. It also erodes your relationship and creates resentment. Watching a loved one suffer is painful, but it may be the wake-up call they need to get help.

Set Firm Limits and Boundaries

To help a person with an addiction, set firm limits and boundaries. Set a rule that the person cannot use drugs in your home and limit contact until they're in recovery. Be consistent with your limits and boundaries. Otherwise, the person will continue to test them.

Follow through with the consequences you've established. For example, if you say you'll no longer lend the person money, don't give in when they beg for it. Have a support system, such as family or friends, to help you stick to your limits and boundaries.

Seek Professional Help

To help a person with an addiction, seek professional help. It’s often the most effective way to provide treatment and support. A professional can assess the person's situation and recommend the best action. They can also provide counseling and other forms of therapy to help the person recover. If unsure where to turn, start with a local mental health center or addiction treatment facility.

Support Their Recovery Efforts

If your loved one is willing to get help, support their recovery efforts. It includes attending therapy, support groups, or taking medication. Recovery is a long and challenging process, so your support is crucial. You can also help by attending counseling sessions with the person.

Doing this enables you to understand their addiction and recovery better. It will also help you heal from the pain and hurt their addiction has caused. Be prepared for setbacks such as relapses. These are common, but they don't mean that recovery isn't possible.

Take Care of Yourself

You may feel overwhelmed, exhausted, and hopeless at times. Find ways to cope with these feelings. Talk to a therapist, attend support groups, or spend time with friends and family. Make time for activities that bring you joy, such as exercise, hobbies, or relaxation. Frequently get out of the house and take breaks from caregiving. You’ll recharge and avoid burnout.

Be Patient

Watching a loved one suffer is the hardest part of addiction recovery. Nevertheless, remember that you're not responsible for the person’s recovery. The only person who can make that decision is the addict. 

All you can do is offer your support and love. If they're willing to get help, be there every step. However, take care of your needs, both physically and emotionally. It's a difficult journey, but with patience and resilience, recovery is possible.

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