Last Updated on by Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley
Did you know that substance abuse takes a lot of out of the country’s economy?
About $740 billion gets lost due to crime, health care, and lost productivity. It could cripple you too, even if you’re not the one suffering from addiction.
Knowing someone with an addiction can lead to detrimental relationships among friends and family.
Fortunately, there are always symptoms of substance dependence, allowing you to know whether someone you know uses drugs to get by. This is a sign you need to learn how to help an addict recover.
Not sure how or where to start? If you don’t know how to support them, you can use these tips:
1. Tell Them You Love Them
The reason why most addicts depend on substances is the fact that they’re insecure. Pushing these people away won’t help, even if you’re doing it to show tough love. There are a lot of things you can tell your loved one to give them the drive and confidence to move forward.
Sometimes, all you need to tell them is how much you love them. That your feelings don’t change despite your lack of understanding of their choices. Tell them you won’t give up on them and that you’ll support them no matter how difficult things get.
Remember, sometimes the only option left is to walk away and save your own person. Despite this, let them know your loving feelings. Make them feel you’re there if they ever decide to seek help.
2. Help Identify their Issue
The first step to give help is to make your loved one understand whether their problem is mild, moderate, or severe. This is the hardest step to do since it depends on how you broach the subject. You need to be careful since a negative approach will make them defensive.
You can try telling them how they were before they start getting into substance abuse. Don’t ever mention how negative they are at the present. Make them remember the times where both of you had great experiences together.
If you really need to talk about something negative, make sure to stay focused on it. Bring up the actual events but never tell them their current negative traits. Don’t tell them they’re undependable or evil in any shape and form.
The way you open the conversation sets the mood. If you follow this tip, you can have a focused and civil argument. This will prevent them from drowning from too much criticism.
3. Educate Yourself
Before you even approach them, you need to have the right information. If you don’t know how to help a drug addict, get informed and understand. Do your research and see how their addiction affects you and other people in their life.
Always remember that knowledge is power. Educating yourself can help you understand yourself and addicted loved one. There are a lot of ways for you to get informed, especially when you’re connected to the World Wide Web.
The Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is one of the best authorities for this subject. They have a lot of materials that can help educate and inform you about substance abuse and drug addiction. Otherwise, you might want to visit the public library for support and treatment resources.
4. Keep Your Expectations Realistic
Once you start helping, don’t be the type to preach and lecture the addict all the time. In most cases, they’ll block it out and won’t hear what you have to say. The right way how to support someone is to make them accountable to expectations.
Offer them help if they want to get the right treatment needed to get out of their addiction. Don’t expect them to fulfill all their promises. They won’t have the right mindset while they’re affected by their illness.
Don’t be mad at them or show outward pity. This will only prolong the process of treatment for them. If they need help, make sure to get in touch with institutions that can help. Find out how they can assess your loved one and refer them to the right people for treatment.
There are also Legal Aid programs you can connect with. Check if there are any in your area and see if your loved one has the right qualifications. At the very least, these people can help direct you to someone who can help.
5. Stop Enabling Them
It’s always difficult for you when your loved one suffers from substance abuse. There are times when you don’t realize you actually supported their addiction. In most cases, it’s better that you let them experience their disease’s consequences.
Don’t support their addiction by not giving them the money to buy drugs. A lot of people can’t change unless they’re forced to do so. Stop giving the addicts their financial assistance until they agree to start changing for the better.
When they start getting their counseling, make sure that you get some for yourself. Getting support allows you to manage yourself better. This means you know the right choices to help your loved one.
If your company offers an Employee Assistance Program, take advantage of it and get help for yourself. Check if your health insurance also covers your mental health. You can talk to some of the people you trust if you aren’t sure where to start.
Learn How to Help an Addict Today!
Always remember that, while your loved one needs help, you need to focus on yourself too. If you don’t, their situation will add up to the personal stress you already have. This can make your relationship with them strained.
It’s hard for you to help them if you develop resentment towards them. Take care of yourself by getting some good sleep, exercising, and getting support. This will make you more ready to take care of your loved one get the assistance they need.
Lastly, it’s important to remember that you aren’t alone. A lot of people struggle to learn how to help an addict recover. Know that support isn’t that far off.
Do you need to help a loved one detoxify? Contact us today and we’ll help them get started.
Dr. Ronaye Calvert-Conley is the CEO and Founder of Revive Detox, a Joint Commission Accredited and Legit Script Certified Addiction Treatment Center in Los Angeles, CA. She earned her Doctorate in Clinical Psychology from Alliant International University in Los Angeles in 2007 and has extensive experience working in the addiction and recovery field and the LGBT community. To learn more about Dr. Calvert-Conley click here.