Watching someone you are caring for deal with an addiction is hard. At times, you might be unsure of whether or not what you are doing is helping. You might also feel concerned that their addiction could lead to an overdose or a major accident. The first thing you can do to care for someone who is dealing with an addiction is to recognize that they are the only ones who can control their actions. Instead, you can use these methods to demonstrate support without enabling their behavior.
Set Clear Boundaries
People who are dealing with an addiction can overstep boundaries fast. They may ask you for money or lash out at you while they are under the effects of the drugs that they take. You can either host an intervention or hold a private conversation that allows you to make your boundaries clear. Letting them know that you won’t be able to accept their behavior any longer prepares them to make a change.
Offer Support for Getting Them Treatment
When you talk to your loved one, it is best to have a suggestion available for them to seek help for their substance abuse. Effective addiction treatment programs offer multiple options for help that may require your loved one to make special arrangements. You can do your part to show support by offering to accompany them to family therapy sessions or to drive them to their group meetings. Seeing that you care enough to be involved makes it clear to your loved one that you are willing to help them get sober.
Remember to Practice Empathy and Kindness
Someone who misuses drugs or alcohol likely already feels guilty about their behavior. Making negative statements can only worsen their mental health and could cause them to return to misusing substances. Instead, try to make positive statements that help them focus on a better future. Help them see a reason for quitting drugs or alcohol.
Be Prepared to Help Prevent a Relapse
The majority of people need ongoing support to avoid falling back into old habits. Talk to them about what they learn in therapy regarding how they can best manage their cravings. Then, do your part to make this possible. In the beginning, this might mean helping them plan events that don’t involve exposing them to drugs or alcohol. You can also let them know that they can talk to you about stressful situations that make them worry about having a relapse. Being prepared to help them get back into treatment or explore a new strategy helps them continue to stay sober.
Once they accept the need for treatment, you’ll want to remember that the hard work isn’t over. They will need to know that they have your continuing support as they work to stay sober. Asking questions about how the treatment is going and staying involved in their life helps them to see that their sobriety matters to others.