When a loved one is in pain, there’s nothing more we want to do than to take that pain away. We’re used to giving affection, medicine, and a shoulder to cry on to make them feel better. It’s in our nature.
But when it comes to helping our loved ones struggling with addiction, it’s not so easy as to place a bandage on the wound or kiss it better. Just like any other illness, addiction can be complicated, difficult to treat, and elusive. You may not even know your loved one is addicted until something happens to bring it to the light.
Knowing or suspecting your loved one is suffering from addiction is a frightening thing to learn. The good news is that there are lots of different rehab facilities in Boulder to choose from. These facilities can help you help your loved one.
But before you call your local rehab, there are some things you should do first.
Addiction is characterized by abusing a substance that is damaging to the body and personality. It’s obsessive behavior that makes it nearly impossible for the addict to stop on their own or without help.
To help your loved one with addiction, you have to know what addiction is, how it works, and how it affects every aspect of the addict’s life. The more information you have in your arsenal, the better equipped you can be to help your loved one.
Read books, study journals, and talk to health care professionals about addiction. This will give you a better idea of what you’re loved one is going through.
Realizing the signs of addiction
As you educate yourself on what addiction is. It’s important to learn the signs of it. Maybe you can’t prove or are unsure that your loved one is addicted to something. That’s okay. The important thing to do is to look at the signs.
- They’re secretive: maybe they keep a second phone, lie about where they’re going, or you catch them hiding something in the cabinet.
- They become anti-social: they won’t attend family events or go out with friends. They become reclusive and withdrawn and tend to stay in their room a lot.
- Their relationships are suffering: Have you noticed everyone in your loved one’s life slowly leaving them behind? Perhaps they keep getting into fights with you or their friends.
- They display risky behavior: they drive while intoxicated, steal, or tend to go out suddenly late at night alone.
- They have money problems: They can’t afford their bills, can’t keep a job, or are borrowing money.
- Their overall behavior changes: If they start acting like a different person, then something is definitely wrong. Look for irritability, depression, anxiety, anger, impulsivity, or lack of sleeping patterns.
Talk to a professional
It’s important that you call a medical professional if you suspect someone you love is addicted to something. They’ll be able to guide you in the right direction by providing additional information, options, and treatment plans. They are your best asset when battling addiction.
Start by taking care of yourself
Taking care of an addict requires a lot of energy and patients. Addiction can cause a lot of physical, mental, and emotional problems for both the addict and their caretaker. If you can’t take care of yourself and set a good example for your loved one, then you might want to consider your role in their care.
It isn’t fair to you or the addict if you’re sleep-deprived, hungry, and stressed. Set up a schedule and boundaries, and don’t be afraid to talk to a professional yourself. While you may not be suffering from addiction, your mental health and wellbeing can still be affected by the disease. This link can give you a few ideas on ways you can practice self-care in your daily life: https://www.everydayhealth.com/wellness/top-self-care-tips-for-being-stuck-at-home-during-the-coronavirus-pandemic/
Lead with empathy
Empathy and love are the most important emotions to hold onto while you and your loved one go through this process. Addicts can be abstinent, explosive, embarrassed, and overwhelmed by the process of leaving their addiction behind. They can take a lot of their frustration out on you.
And you, who love them and want to see them healthy again, may feel the same feelings of anger, frustration, resentment, or disappointment. You might be just as likely to take these negative emotions out on you.
Understand that you both are scared and overwhelmed. These are normal feelings to have when dealing with this. It’s okay. Try not to put the blame on your loved ones or berate them for their addiction. This will only make things worse, and you won’t feel better afterward.
If you feel like you can’t lead with empathy because you’re so frustrated, you aren’t alone. Call someone and talk your emotions out so you can better help your loved one. You’ll be glad that you did.
Stop enabling and hold them accountable
This is easier said than done, but it’s crucial for your loved one’s health and wellbeing. Don’t let them walk all over you and do whatever they want. Hold them accountable for their actions.
This can mean you don’t bail them out when they’re arrested for possession or driving under the influence. This can mean not paying their rent because they don’t have money. This can mean not allowing drugs or alcohol into your home and asking them to leave if they don’t follow the rules.
There are a lot of ways you can hold your loved ones accountable and stop enabling them. You aren’t being mean; you’re saving their life and protecting your peace in the process.
Give them options for treatment
Make sure your loved one knows that there are a million and one ways they can beat addiction. They can try in-treatment programs, out treatment programs, therapy, detox, religious counseling, and many more. Click here for a few different kinds of treatment options.
You can give them the power to choose where they want to go for treatment and how they want to deal with their addiction. The most important thing is that they seek help for it. Allow them to choose their own doctors or treatment center if that’s something they want to be a part of. It could be a huge step for them to take control back in their lives.
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