Family Member 411 – What If My Loved One Is Addicted?

Posted on Posted in HER Blog

It can be difficult to share what's going on in your life when a loved one is in crisis with addiction. Watching a loved one suffer is a painful and emotional process that takes a toll on the entire family. Exploring what resources and options are available to you and your family is the best place to start turning things around.  You are not alone. Recovery is for anyone who wants it, and that starts with you. 

1. Take Care of Yourself First

It is important that all non-using family members take extra good care of themselves. Life with an addict can be taxing. Over time, most family relationships become very lop-sided in the face of addiction. It is normal to be concerned about a loved one's health and safety, but addiction robs all relationships of reciprocity. Before you know it, it's easy to find yourself just as lost as they are. If you find yourself getting worn down, feeling desperate, getting depressed, withdrawing from your own life in response, it's time to take a step back from the chaos. The destruction of addiction spreads through families like a wildfire. It is common that in the plight to help someone else, families end up suffering just as much as the addicted. As you continue to support the people that you love, it is imperative that you take the time to make sure that you are okay as well. 

2. Seek Support

Finding a family support group and educating yourself on addiction, and how it's affecting you is the most beneficial thing that you can do for yourself, and for your loved one. Before anything can be 'fixed' everyone needs to learn to talk about it. It's okay. Realizing that you are not alone in this struggle is a great way to start finding your way out of the pandemonium. Nar-Anon Family Groups are a free 12 step program with meetings and resources available throughout the United States. The first meeting may feel strange to you, as you "are not the one addicted" but remember, you are the one that is heavily affected by someone else's drug or alcohol use. It's a cycle that we can work on breaking. By the end of that first meeting, you'll feel so much better knowing that you yourself have other people to reach out to. It's like they say in the rooms, you learn to "accept the things I cannot change" and gain "the courage to change the things I can."   

3. Get Information

Addiction is a complex disease. They call it a family disease because its reach is vast within the family system. Learning what you can about what you're dealing with helps better equip you to navigate problems in new ways. To get started, gain more information on the drug of choice that your family is specifically dealing with. The information that you gain will help you in multiple ways. Talking to your loved one about their substance abuse can be one of the most difficult tasks that you face in the beginning of your recovery. Yes, there is a recovery process for family members in addition to the one for the addict. The good news is that your recovery process can start the moment that you dedicate yourself to it. Before your loved one even enters treatment, you can start the process of healing. 

It is easier to speak with your loved one openly about their problem once you understand what exactly it is that it's doing to them. Non-judgemental support and encouragement for change can be tricky when the stakes and the emotions are high. Always keep in mind that the earlier your loved one accepts the need for treatment, the better. Regardless, it is important that you know how to ensure that you are not enabling their addiction and that you are taking the best possible care of yourself despite it. 

Women experience addiction differently than men.

If you or a woman that you love is looking for addiction treatment, please call our office at 918-650-9292 for more information on our programs and admissions process.



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