Watching a loved one struggle because they are addicted to drugs or alcohol is a terrifying thing to have to go through. No matter who that person is – your spouse, child, a parent, sibling, or best friend, the concern for them is all-consuming.
They say that addiction is a family disease, and it is true. When a person suffers from addiction, they bring everyone close to them down with them. Not in the sense that you become addicted to drugs also, but rather than your life begins to revolve around that person’s addiction and their wellbeing. While it is a very unpleasant situation, there are things you can do to help save your sanity and even help the addicted person to get the help they need.
When a Loved One is Addicted to Drugs
No matter who the addict is, if they are a person close to you, you will be brought down immensely by their addiction. The only way to keep some semblance of a regular life is to make sure that you are able to separate yourself from their addiction for at least some of the time in order to keep your sanity.
There are many behaviors that family members of people addicted to drugs engage in consciously and unconsciously. Here is what you should be aware of to better handle the situation.
- Don’t engage in a codependent relationship. This kind of relationship happens when one person is completely consumed with the other person’s well-being and puts their happiness above their own. It is essential to have your own separate identity in any kind of relationship and to be able to stand on your own two feet.
- Don’t enable the person. This is one thing that many people do unconsciously when they have loved one addicted to drugs. Tough love is the answer in this kind of situation. Way too many people continue to provide emotional and financial support, even when the drug addict’s behavior doesn’t deserve it. As long as you provide them with money and a roof over their head, they will not recognize the consequences of their behavior and they will continue to engage in their addiction.
- Get your own help. In some cases, drug addiction can be more emotionally taxing on loved ones than it is for addicts themselves. Whether the person is in active addiction or in rehab, it is essential to get your own counseling or join a group to help give you ways to cope. While you may have a huge emotional investment in the person, you will be of no use to either of you if you are unable to handle yourself and completely emotionally distraught. Seek professional help and you will be given ways to handle the situation you are unfortunately going through.
- Make sure to make time for yourself. As hard as it may be, you need to focus on yourself and what makes you happy. Take time to do things for yourself, do activities you enjoy, and get together with friends who can take your mind off of the person. It is important to keep living your life and having moments of happiness so that you can continue to be strong and live somewhat of a regular life.
Other Options of What You Can Do for an Addicted Loved One
Many people choose to hold interventions for loved ones who are suffering from drug or alcohol addiction. This is something that is a great idea to do, but thought and planning have to go into it. You want to make sure to invite people who are truly interested in what is best for the person and make sure you have a plan of who is going to say what, and what the end goal is. Make sure to have a treatment plan set up also so that if the person agrees to get help, they can go to treatment right away.
Having a loved one addicted to drugs is tragic and all-consuming. It is important that you make an effort to separate yourself from the addiction to keep your head on straight and to be able to continue to do your best for yourself and your loved ones. In time, hopefully, the person will get the help they need, and this rough patch will come to an end.