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Leading Loved Ones into a Sober Life: Dos and Don’ts
When a loved one is affected by an addiction, it can be hard to know what a friend or family member can do to help. Fortunately, there are many dos and don’ts when it comes to aiding an addict toward recovery. Most of all, it is important for the loved one of an addict to avoid any self-injury and to know when to advance as well as when to retreat.
Follow the Dos
There are many dos to follow when a loved one decides to help an addict to reach recovery. One way to help would be not to give in to peer pressure. If the addict asks a loved one to start using, it will become a domino effect and instead of helping to bring the addict to sobriety, it will support their addiction.
Another way to help an addict would be to find a rehab program, but make sure it is the right fit for the potential patient. Ask questions before a selection is made to find out how their programs work, and see if there is a chance an interview can be done with a person who has already completed the program.
It is important to stand by the addict for support as they fight through this difficult time, if possible. While this is not always possible, it is important to at least let him/her know that a loved one is there for them, especially when the drugs can have a negative impact on their self-esteem. If the situation turns abusive, it is a good idea to relocate and support from a distance, especially where children are involved.
It can be very terrifying to wait for a phone call that tells a family member that the addict has been jailed or found dead due to overdose. Insisting on rehab for the right answer to the addiction can resolve this in the best way possible. Don’t try to brush it off as a momentary setback or something that he/she will drop eventually. It is important that he/she get the help they need as soon as possible.
If an intervention is utilized, be sure to do it in a caring and loving way that will not cause more feelings of negativity. Try not to make the addict feel criticized or blamed for any problems, as it is this feeling that most likely led them to their addiction in the first place.
Avoid the Don’ts
An addiction is not an easy thing to just up and quit. It is important not to give ultimatums or ask him/her to quit and expect results. A drug addiction is much bigger than a loved one or the addict and accepting how difficult it can be for them can be the beginning of the solution that will lead to their sobriety.
According to the NIDA, if an addict participant in the program is only in rehab as less than 90 days, the effectiveness of the treatment can be limited, with longer lengths of stays showing outcomes that are more positive. With that in mind, it is generally not a good idea to go with a 30-day program, as it took a long time for the addict to become the way they are and it will take just as much time to rebuild their lives beyond their substance abuse.
While it is a good idea to support the addicts in their time of need, it is important not to place oneself in a situation that is mentally or physically abusive. When experiencing these situations, it is a good idea to reach out to family members, counselors, ministers, and in the worst situations, law enforcement.
Don’t expect a miracle when the subject of rehab is introduced. The addict may not see yet that their addiction is a problem and they may resist at first. One way to convince him or her is to hire a professional and experienced interventionist. Alternatively, gather of the addict’s loved ones, and sit them down to discuss the problem. It is important to give them no way out of the intervention other than to go to rehab to get better.
It is not enough to send an addict to rehab, so do not assume it is over because he or she agreed to go. It is imperative that the addict feel supported by loved ones to help them rebuild and adjust to their new life without the use of drugs. According to the SAMHSA, an addict must learn to be resilient, which is the way through which an individual is able to cope with adversity and to adapt to their challenges. This resilience is built up over time and helps to prepares them for any future stressful situations, which is why the will need the support of their loved ones to learn how to adapt.
There are many dos and don’ts of helping an addict to become sober. With the support and love of family and friends but without the risk to oneself, the addict can begin their journey toward sobriety. If you or a loved one is suffering from substance abuse and needs help, call 800-721-8114 to speak with a caring specialist that can assist you.