How to Help a Loved One Battle Addiction

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Meditation, process group therapy (group therapy), life skills therapy (learn self-awareness, recognizing triggers, job-skills training, self-sufficiency skills training), health and wellness, recovery group, daily goal review. 

Addictions can sneak up on you. This is true for the person battling the addiction and their loved ones. You may feel like you should have seen the signs sooner or that you should have done something different to stop your loved one’s addiction from starting at all, but none of that is fair to you. 

The biggest struggle of watching a loved one battle addiction is that you cannot take the steps for them. You can support them and guide them, but you cannot go through therapy and treatment for them. Sometimes, you may not even want to. Addiction has a tendency to change the person you love, and that new person can hurt you. They can steal, lie, cheat, and do whatever they feel they need to get that next hit. 

Signs of Addiction to Watch For

There are many important signs of addiction to watch out for. 

  • Sudden and dramatic changes to personality or interests 
  • Increasing financial instability 
  • Withdrawal from what they used to enjoy 
  • Shakes, red eyes, tremors, and other worrying health issues
  • Evasiveness 
  • Signs of depression or anxiety 
  • Aggression 

Do keep in mind that many of these symptoms can also be signs of mental illness. Regardless of the cause, however, reaching out and connecting to your loved one is important. They need to know that their battle isn’t invisible and that you are there to help. In many cases, an addiction goes hand-in-hand with mental illnesses like depression or anxiety. Your loved one may have turned to an illicit substance to self-treat their anxiety, for example, or the substance abuse might have led to depression. 

Either way, they will need help. Stage an intervention, and work with them to find the right approach to recovery. 

How to Help a Loved One Battle Addiction

When it comes to how you can help a loved one while they are on their recovery path, there are a few tips: 

Find Inpatient Treatment Options

Dealing with an addiction’s physical, mental, and social consequences is overwhelming without having to go through all the options. A great way to start help is, therefore, to find treatment options for them to choose from. Narrowing down the list to pre-vetted options does wonders towards helping them stay focussed on their recovery. 

When it comes to vetting them, remember to look at rounded options. The multi-pronged Therapy at Alta Loma, for example, includes multiple therapy options, skills building, and peer support. Always make sure that the treatment option, particularly if it’s inpatient, works on a mental, physical, and spiritual basis. 

Support Them Through Outpatient

Work with their therapist and program leaders to continue offering a safe, supportive environment while they go through outpatient treatment. This can mean providing healthy meals, helping them keep their space tidy and laundered, and making sure they make it to their outpatient sessions. 

Learn How to Engage

One of the most difficult parts for a loved one is how to engage with their child, partner, or loved one after this life-changing experience. Knowing how to talk to them, how to connect to them, and how to help on a personal level is not something you need to know how to do all on your own. There are family therapy sessions you can go to when you need help. You can also ask for advice from your loved one’s therapist on how to do better for them at home. 

Maintain Your Boundaries

One thing that the friends and family of those suffering from addiction need to understand is that you do not have to fall on your own sword to help them. Your mental health and well-being are just as important, and you don’t actually owe them anything as long as they are adults. You can give them patience and support, but this is up to you. 

Set boundaries, and maintain them. This is how you will support yourself through the experience. You can even look into support groups for those who have loved ones with an addiction. 

Addiction affects everyone in one way or another and working to protect yourself while you support your loved one is critical. Caregiver fatigue is a real issue, and if you don’t set and maintain those boundaries within yourself, you can find yourself burning out before you know it. 

Instead, care for yourself so that you can care for them.