Whether it’s a spouse, sibling, friend, or another loved one, supporting someone who’s trying to overcome substance abuse and addiction is often a complex and difficult task. Seeking professional guidance is a great first step, but there are additional ways to help and show encouragement. Here are a few tips for offering caring, compassionate support to a loved one struggling with addiction.
Remember That Addiction Is a Disease, Not a Choice
It’s a common mistake to think that those battling addiction can simply choose to alter or control their substance abuse habits. However, the truth is that addiction is a compulsive disease that affects the brain, not a lifestyle choice or moral failure. As with any other medical problem, supporting a loved one with an addiction will involve seeking professional treatment services and relinquishing any sense of direct control over the situation.
Put a Stop to Codependency
Ironically, family members and close friends of a person with addiction sometimes end up unintentionally enabling or fostering the substance abuse in an effort to show extra love and support. This is known as codependency, and it can be both difficult to recognize and damaging to the addicted person’s long-term recovery prospects. Professional guidance for the family members of an addicted loved one can help minimize codependency-induced patterns, and it can offer everyone positive, effective strategies for showing support.
Anticipate and Accept the Reality of Relapse
Instead of worrying that a loved one receiving treatment will eventually relapse, remember that relapsing is often an uncomfortable but unavoidable part of the recovery process. Instead of treating a relapse as a failure or a reason to give up hope, take it as a sign that it may be time to return to the doctor and develop a new treatment strategy. A relapse is a stressful event, but approaching it pragmatically and optimistically can help the struggling person continue to work toward treatment goals.
If substance abuse and addiction are negatively impacting someone you love, seeking professional guidance is a critical decision that can help combat the disease. Founded in 1984, Recovery Place has helped more than 20,000 people in the Savannah area through therapy, medical attention, and other support services. To schedule a tour to learn more about our services, contact us online or call (912) 355-1440 today.