Drug addiction help for family members is available in several ways.
It is not a secret that dealing with an addiction IS one of the most difficult experiences someone can go through.
This is a process that becomes even more difficult when the person doesn’t have the support of their family and loved ones.
As we know, dealing with addiction alone is not only complicated, but the person may undergo several relapses or be in denial and not want to seek help.
Therefore, the role of the family when dealing with an addiction is extremely important.
This is also why family members also need to have resources to be able to help their loved ones. But, at the same time, family members need help for themselves.
Drug Addiction Tips for Family Members
There are important steps family members can take to help their addicted loved one. These are just some tips you can apply if you find yourself in this situation:
- Educate yourself. Ask the doctor questions about the health of your loved one. Investigate addiction. There are also books and documentaries to equip yourself with knowledge of this disease. The more you learn, the more you will understand the condition and be able to help. Unite Recovery has a general guide on Drug Addiction, click here.
- Set limits. It is crucial that you and your loved one have defined boundaries. This can help treat their addiction and prevent a relapse. The boundaries also protect you from physical and emotional damage.
- Avoid enabling an addict. When you make it possible for a person to be addicted, you allow him to relax or break the limits he agreed upon. Examples include lending money, lying for them, and accepting a person use or abuse their drug of choice. Enabling an addicted person is detrimental to you, your loved one, and your relationship.
- Avoid triggers. Be sensitive to the things that can trigger your loved one’s addiction and try to avoid them. For example, if your loved one is addicted to alcohol, do not drink alcohol or go to places where alcohol is prominent.
- Look and listen. Addicts may require more attention. Be there to listen and do not judge. Watch them to detect signs of abuse or relapse. However, do not allow them to abuse this need or take advantage of your time. Your needs are still important.
- Keep calm. Supporting an addict can be difficult and frustrating. There are times when you can be angry with them. Try to express your feelings in a calm and direct way. Avoid raising your voice, threatening or judging them. Talk to them about their concerns and their health. Focus on the future, not the past.
- Offer respect and praise. Just as it is difficult for you to support an addict, it can be very difficult for the addict to overcome addiction. Be respectful of the treatments your loved one chooses to do. For example, they may have to attend inpatient rehabilitation for a month or more. Or, they may decide to join a night support group. Insist on praising their commitment and whatever goals they achieve.
- Try new things. Look for activities that you and your loved one can do to replace what they were addicted to. Examples may include exercise, cooking, painting, traveling, or meditating.
Books For Family Members of Drug Addicts
There are a number of recommended books to read that help family members of drug addicts on the journey to recovery.
Everything Changes: Help for Families of Newly Recovering Addicts by Beverly Conyers This book explores the addiction experience from first-hand accounts. It provides practical how-tos on navigating life during the early phases of recovery.
Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery by Beverly Conyers This is another book by Beverly Conyers that examines through personal stories, the struggle of family members of addicts.
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey through His Son’s Meth Addiction This is a memoir by David Sheff of his son’s methamphetamine addiction. It delves into the impact on his family and examines David’s own personal struggles to cope with it. His son’s account is illustrated in the book Tweak.
Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change This book is written of the people of the Center for Motivation and Change, provides a science-based approach to dealing with drug addiction. It offers practical solutions and an optimistic outlook to help your loved dealing with addiction.
Support Groups for Family Members of Drug Addicts
Several organizations offer support groups for family members of drug addicts.
- Families Anonymous offers 12 step recovery meetings for families and friends of those affected by drugs and alcohol. Families Anonymous has online as well as in-person meetings. Here is a directory of their meetings.
- Nar-Anon Nar-Anon offers meetings for family members affected by drug addiction. Enter your zip code or city and state, and peruse the meetings in your area. There are specific meetings that are open to friends and families of those affected by drug addiction.
- Learn to Cope has meetings for family and friends of people dealing with addiction.