Helping A Family Member With Addiction
September 30th, 2016
When a person suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, they experience negative repercussions in a multitude of ways—physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually and even socially—however, they are not the only ones that reap the devastation of this lifestyle.
For these reasons, you need to be mindful and compassionate about striving to assist your loved one in overcoming their addiction. Not only does it help them to have a greater chance towards sobriety and solidarity within their recovery, but it helps to ensure that you, as a family member, can regain your own measure of balance.
The more you’re aware of this dual impact, the greater the capacity of assistance, support, and care that you can give. In helping yourself to heal, you are providing yourself with greater strength to support your loved one, a benefit that extends both ways.
Taking Care Of Yourself, So That You Can Help Them
Contrary to what some people may think, addiction is not a one-way street. This is true on two levels—first, an addiction does not only affect the person that is suffering from it, and secondly, an addiction does not have to result in a person’s life being over. At the Treehouse, we can help you and your family member learn how to begin life anew.
When your loved one transgresses from substance misuse, breaching into abuse, and then to full-fledged addiction, they’ve likely disrupted your life in numerous ways along this treacherous path. As a result, you may have developed a host of negative emotions and mindsets, both towards yourself and them, that can hinder your ability to love and support them in the way they need most.
These negative emotions include blame, shame and anger—both directed at yourself and them, fear, loneliness, doubt and even grief. As you watch someone fall prey to addiction, you might experience an extreme sense of loss as well, which is related to your perceived demise of your family, hopes, dreams and other things you’ve worked hard to achieve. Our staff can help your family member find sobriety so that you can, together, reinvest in these things.
Learning to combat these and other struggles can grant you the forgiveness, perspective, and perseverance that are so necessary when you’re helping a family member strive towards sobriety. Additionally, when they see you taking positive and proactive steps, they might begin to feel more inspired that they can do the same for themselves.
This can be a step that is foundational for those who follow. Yes, you’ve witnessed the impact and devastation of the addiction first hand, but do you really understand the complexity that’s behind it?
Understanding how the specific drug(s), including alcohol, impact a person’s body and brain, and also how they manifest in a person’s behaviors, can help you to better gauge what’s going on in your loved one’s life.
This can help you to have conversations with them that might prove effective both in supporting and understanding their situation—two things that can help get them closer towards overcoming denial and accepting treatment. Not only this, but it can help you to be prepared to make decisions and offer resources that can get your loved one the specialized help that they need.
Intervention is perhaps one of the most synonymous with addiction, however, for many it may only be a notion. Here, we’d like to educate you on exactly what this is, what it entails and why it might at times be necessary.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, “Intervention is a professionally directed, education process resulting in a face to face meeting of family members, friends and/or employer with the person in trouble with alcohol or drugs.”
One thing you’ll note here is the concept “professionally directed,” one common misnomer, a perception that can actually subterfuge the benefit or impact of this, is that an intervention has to be led by a family member. Though it is important that family members be involved, having a family member plan for and lead an intervention may actually create an atmosphere that is not optimally conducive to success.
Why is this? As we’ve mentioned above, there are many emotions that can arise when you watch someone you love fall prey to an addiction. Within an intervention, they can be both stumbling blocks and a catalyst towards the tension and blame that can potentially derail an intervention. This is not to say that at times, a family-led intervention cannot be successful, rather that if you can, choosing the aid of a professional interventionist is recommended, given rates of success.
Though it is true that one purpose of an intervention is to illustrate to your family member the way their addiction is impacting both their life and yours, it is not a time to be condemning or to exhibit these powerful negative emotions. Instead, an intervention needs to be properly executed in a way that directs a person and their family towards positive and productive thoughts and realizations.
At the Treehouse we understand this, which is why we offer you direction while you begin to think about this step. We can help you to better understand why professional guidance, through the aid of a certified interventionist, can be a wise decision. Even when you choose this route, family support and involvement is crucial to its success.
Rooting Out Any Enabling Behaviors
An addiction changes lives, and as that occurs, loved ones may knowingly or unknowingly enable by adapting their behaviors to its presence. An example includes giving a person financial support, even though you know that the money will likely go to fuel their addiction. You might do this out of fear—becoming worried that they won’t be able to take care of their basic needs without it, or that they might turn to illegal means to supplement their addiction—putting them in the face of even more dangers and risks.
What you must understand is the role of responsibility. You are not responsible for their actions or choices, however, you can engage them in a responsible manner. Some people may call this “tough love,” yet even through the course of loving a person, you may enable their addiction, instead, you need to detach yourselves a bit and learn that you can love them in a more proactive way.
This may be hard, as you will have to witness your loved one confronting the at times overwhelming results of their addiction, but remember, these moments can help them to better understand the necessity of finding strength, hope and help.
Integrating Family Support And Therapy
When someone suffers from an addiction, they have better chances at both obtaining sobriety and maintaining their recovery if they have a supportive foundation. At Treehouse, we recognize this, which is why we’ve made family support and therapy a hallmark of our treatment.
If an individual chooses, they can integrate their family into their treatment. This allows us to involve you, the family, in counseling sessions and gives us an opportunity to educate you so that you are better equipped to understand and fortify their recovery.
Recovery is a journey, one that takes continued work and focus. A person has a greater chance of success if their family understands this and the many dynamics behind both the addiction and the recovery process.
To better prepare you for this, we offer thorough and engaging webinars that can increase positive and supportive modes of communication and teach you how to have better coping skills.
Find Professional Help
It is human nature to try to do things on our own, but we must realize that sometimes things get too far beyond the scope of our understanding and abilities. A treatment program such as ours can make the difference between a failed attempt at sobriety and a successful one.
We understand the diversity of needs that each person has, and tailor our approach to serve them in an individual way. We integrate various treatment modalities, including, but not limited to dialectical behavioral therapy (DBT) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), that can help them obtain the coping skills and make the lasting changes that are so crucial towards their success. Not only this, but these therapies can address any comorbid, or co-occurring disorders that your loved one might have.
We Can Help You
At the Treehouse, we understand how daunting this time can be. That’s why we employ compassionate individuals who are adept at offering expert care. If you’re feeling like you don’t know where to turn, look no further. We can help you in learning how to best support your loved one as he or she works toward overcoming addiction. Contact us today to learn about our phenomenal treatment and the ways in which we can help you and your loved one find success.
National Institute on Drug Abuse — What to Do If Your Adult Friend or Loved One Has a Problem with Drugs
Partnership for Drug-Free Kids — Helping an Adult Family Member or Friend with a Drug or Alcohol Problem
Harvard Health Publications — When a loved one has an addiction