Drug use is a problem for about 10-15 percent of everyone over the age of 12 in Washington state, and that’s not even counting the people who struggle with the biggest source of substance abuse – alcohol. Using drugs puts people in a position to abuse them and increases the risk of dependency. Drug abuse puts people in the position to contract the vicious disease of addiction. When this occurs, many people are unsure of how to go about finding help and support to heal. This is also true for the loved ones of someone struggling with a substance use disorder (an addiction to drugs or alcohol). Learning to support a loved one during addiction treatment is a key part of helping people heal.
Encourage Finding Addiction Treatment
It seems like a simple thing, and it is. But it’s not necessarily easy. Getting an addict into treatment in the first place is by far the most important thing you can do. Without that, chances are there won’t be any recovery to help with, only the continuation of the downward spiral. It doesn’t matter if you get them into full-time inpatient rehab, IOP treatment, or support groups.
If your loved one isn’t in treatment, it may be because they don’t believe they truly have a problem. If that’s the case, maybe a good first step is to get them an addiction assessment to see if their substance use is a problem and how serious it is. The first step towards recognizing (and ultimately treating) addiction is often the most difficult. For many people, that jolt comes in the form of irreparable damage to their life, like:
- Losing their job
- Hurting a loved one (physically or emotionally)
- Running into trouble with the law
- Losing friends and close relationships
- Sliding into debt and ignoring bills
But if you’re there with them, you can get to them before those serious consequences do. They probably won’t listen at first. They’ll downplay the problem, insisting they are in total control and could quit if they wanted to. They may try to hide their substance abuse from you in an attempt to make you believe the problem has been solved. Be on the lookout for them getting more secretive once you’ve started mentioning their substance abuse as a problem. That’s okay. Stay persistent. Ask them about it regularly. Make sure they know you haven’t forgotten about it. Don’t be aggressive or confrontational. Be firm but compassionate. Make sure they know you’re concerned for their well-being.
How to Support a Loved One During Addiction Treatment
Rehab is a difficult time for everyone involved. It won’t be much easier for you than it is for them. But the most important role you have as the loved one of a recovering addict in rehab can be summed up in one word: support. A person entering rehab is usually at the lowest point they’ll ever be in their lives, and they need unwavering support. They’re likely to be wracked with guilt and remorse for their actions, and that isn’t the time to pile on. It’s time to show your encouragement for their efforts to overcome their disease.
Their belief in their ability to recover is weak or nonexistent at this point. Never will it be more important for you to believe in them than at this exact moment. It doesn’t seem like a big deal, but a recovering addict needs every source of motivation they can get to overcome and move forward with their life. Few motivations will be stronger than the desire not to disappoint a loved one who has put their full faith in them. Your faith in them may well be their reason to stick through a tough stretch of recovery, and you reinforce that every time you give them an encouraging word.
Support Groups Can Help You Cope With Your Loved One’s Addiction
Your job as the supporter of a recovering addict is to let them know they’re not alone, that they have someone to lean on while they struggle to get their life back. But while you’re doing that, you may very well feel isolated and alone yourself. You can’t vent to your loved one, who is going through their issues. You probably don’t want to talk too much about it to your other friends and family, lest they start to develop negative ideas about your loved one. It feels like nobody understands what you’re going through, and you can’t do much to make anyone understand. But that’s not true.
You may not see them or be connected with them, but there are people all over the state of Washington who is struggling the same way you are – wanting to be helpful and supportive of their recovering loved ones but also needing support themselves. There are so many people like that that there are specific groups for families of recovering addicts.
Move Forward With Addiction Recovery at Northpoint Seattle
After rehab is over, you’d like to believe you’ve weathered the storm and the worst is over. That is mostly true, but it’s never truly over. The effects of addiction will dwindle after rehab, and it will start to feel like your life is finally returning to normal. Enjoy that because you have your life back, and so does your loved one. But you must stay diligent. As with any disease, relapse is a constant threat with addiction. Once a person has become addicted and recovered from it, they’re often just one use away from falling back in, potentially even deeper than before.
You can help prevent that by helping your loved one stay away from old habits and the circumstances that led them to addiction in the first place. Reach out to Northpoint Seattle today by calling 425.414.3530 to learn more.