7 Tips on How to Deal With People Battling Addiction
The fundamental issue with addiction is that it is a disease that affects not only the addict but also those around that person. Family and friends often find it hard to deal with the addict’s behavior, legal and financial problems and do what they can to help him or her overcome the addiction.
Below are seven tips that anyone can use to help and support a friend or loved one who is an addict.
1: Educate Yourself
You should find different materials that offer information about addiction and find out how the disease progresses. Understand how it impacts you, the family, and others around the addict. They say knowledge is power; therefore, arm yourself by being adequately informed so that you know what to do.
You can find different resources that educate on addiction. SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration) has a website that provides various educational and informational materials (visit SAMHA.gov). Alternatively, you can visit the public library and scour the internet to find different resources, including support groups, treatment centers, and education organizations, that can help your quest.
2: Get support
Having to deal with a family member or close friend that has an addiction problem can make your life difficult. You can seek the assistance of groups that help people learn how to cope with addicts. They provider different resources including,
- Al-Anon (focuses on Alcohol addiction)
- Nar-Anon (focuses on drug addiction including prescription and illegal drugs)
3: Get counseling
Getting your friend or loved one individual counseling is highly recommended. The counseling will also be applicable and useful to you, not just the addict. You will learn how to manage yourself better as you do what you can to support your loved one. Counselors have an array of materials that you can use.
Inquire from your employer is an employee assistance program, or even check with your health insurance provider to determine if they have mental health benefits. Overall, talk to someone that you or the addict trusts, someone that will help you find the resources you need that are available in your region.
4: Seek Specialty Support
Consider talking with a reputable attorney or financial advisor if you need assistance with any legal or financial problems. Some organizations do offer such services on a sliding scale fee. Check out United Way or inquire from your local Mental Health Agency about these kinds of organizations. You could also find some assistance, such as free or low-cost counseling from some local churches.
5: Avoid Enabling
Times can be challenging for a family member when a loved one is battling with addiction. In most cases, they will do what they can to support the addict and will, at times, fail to see the full impact of their actions. They will go out of their way to offer financial support, by groceries, pay court fines, rent, and even settle some debts, but these things only prolong the addiction, and the addicts fail to feel the pinch of your behavior.
While their intentions are well-placed, it is best not to try and rescue the addict blindly. Experts suggest that you let the person discover and experience the consequences of their choices and the impact the addiction has on their life.
6: Realistic Expectations
Avoid lecturing or preaching to the addict. The person often is unable to hear or accept what you are saying. Instead, hold them accountable to expectations, offering them support by directing them to treatment professionals. Do not expect any promises or for the addict to be true to what he or she says. Conversely, avoid reacting with anger or showing pity.
Get in touch with the Legal Aid Program in your location to find out if the addict qualifies for those services or direct you to where to get the help and support the person needs.
7: Take Care of Yourself
The best way to help a friend or loved one who is an addict is to focus on your life. Why overburden yourself with the stresses of life and still carry their issues!
Doing this will eventually cultivate resentment, making it harder for you to help the person because they are created problems and hardships in your life. Take care of yourself by socializing, getting enough sleep, eating healthy, exercising, and enjoying your life. It might be the wake-up call the addict needs to turn things for the better.