Is someone in your family living with an addiction? This situation can be very challenging, and the 10 tips for coping with a loved one's addiction listed here offer some suggestions for getting through this difficult time.
1. Educate yourself about addiction.
The more you know about the substance your loved one is taking, the better prepared you will be to cope with his or her addiction. You can get information from your loved one's doctor or counselor, as well as online.
2. Offer to go to therapy sessions with your loved one.
If you go with your family member to counseling sessions, you can provide the counselor with additional information about him or her. You can also ask questions to learn more about his or her addiction.
3. Attend sessions at a self-help group for families of addicts.
Organizations like Al-Anon and Co-Anon offer support to family members of alcoholics and cocaine addicts. There is no cost to attend meetings and everyone there will understand what you are going through.
4. Don't give the addict money that can be used to buy drugs or alcohol.
If you want to provide financial support to your loved one, don't give them cash. Instead, pay rent or bills directly.
5. Offer your support.
The addict needs support and understanding. Let them know that you will be there to help out as they seek help for their addiction.
6. Admit that you have prejudices around addiction.
If being addicted is not something you find easy to accept or understand, it's OK to admit that. You can provide support to your loved one without deciding that addiction is acceptable to you.
7. Don't judge the addict.
Anything you are thinking of saying to the person in your life who is addicted won't come as any surprise to them. They have likely thought the same things about themselves. Self-loathing after using drugs or alcohol is very common.
8. Keep the lines of communication open.
To help your loved one deal with addiction, it's important that they know they can talk to you. Learn to listen carefully to what he or she has to say, without interrupting. If something isn't clear to you, do ask questions.
9. Understand that recovery is a process that will take time.
The addiction didn't happen to your loved one overnight, and it will take some time for him or stop using. There may be times when he or she will relapse and start using again. This is very common and the best thing you can do is focus on helping your loved one get back on track.
10. Understand that it's not your fault.
Your loved one has made the decision to start using alcohol or drugs. They may become enraged if you confront them and tell you that it's your fault. It isn't. You are not responsible for the choices your loved one has made. They are the ones who have the addiction. Supporting the addict in your life will not be easy, and you need to get support to deal with the challenges along the way.