By now you might have learned that you can’t control anyone but yourself, and this is especially true when addiction is part of the equation. If you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, you know they need help. You know that the best thing for them (and for you) would be for them to enter a rehab program where they can beat their addiction once and for all. But you are not the one running their life, and sometimes all the pleading, encouraging, and begging in the world will not be enough to get your loved one to accept the help they really need.
As a loved one, what can you do? You can continue encouraging the person to get help, but you also need to think about yourself and take charge of your own life. Don’t put your life on hold for your loved one anymore, because they may never get help. But at least you can work on your own health and happiness, and in doing so, you can provide the addict in your life with motivation for taking charge of their own life as well.
Focus on Your Health
Caring for an addict can take a toll on your health. You might be suffering with headaches, ulcers, and insomnia because you are worried about the person. If your serious health issues persist, see a doctor. Addressing your physical health will help you fell better overall.
Likewise, your psychological health is suffering right now. You might be depressed, have anxiety, and be dealing with self-esteem issues. These things not only cause great emotional damage but they can further complicate your health issues. Consider visiting a therapist yourself to help learn how the addiction is putting a strain on you, as well as ways to deal with the emotional stress you feel.
Learn How to Stop Enabling
Not everyone handles an addicted loved one well. In fact, many well-meaning family members continuously say the wrong things, do the wrong things, and fail to say and do the things that would help stop the addiction. It’s called enabling; many family members and loved ones are guilty of it, and it only prolongs the addiction. If you want to help yourself and have a chance to help your loved one, learn how to stop enabling them. Usually this means stop making excuses for them, stop giving them money or other assistance, and stop picking up the slack for them. But it also means stop giving them attention when they want to argue, stop feeling the need to take care of or baby them, and set boundaries and follow them. By listening to treatment professionals and others who understand enabling and by looking at your own life, you can better know how to interact with your loved one in a way that will encourage them to take the step and get help.
Get Support for Yourself
You can’t deal with an addict alone. There are many who are willing and able to help. Ask for help, and surround yourself with a support group to provide you with encouragement and a sense of camaraderie. Support groups like Al-Anon or Alateen are beneficial because they are made up of people just like you; people who need to know that others are going through the same challenges, and can help teach you how to get though it.
Don’t Try to Hide the Problem
Finally, remember that you didn’t choose to be in this situation, and denying there is a problem will only make the situation worse. Admit your loved one is an addict, admit your family isn’t perfect, and be willing to accept help and support whenever available. The more you can open up with others, the better you will be able to pursue a happy life for yourself. Sometimes that happy life can only come from walking away from the addict, other times you will need to stick around and help them battle it out. It always helps to have advice from experts in the treatment and mental health field and from those who have gone through the same experiences as you. But always be honest about the situation and don’t be too proud to ask for help and advice.
If you have an addicted loved one, we can help you talk to them about getting treatment. Our intervention experts can help you plan and carry out an intervention. If you need help just for yourself at this point, we can connect you with the right people as well. Contact us at (888) 907-8039 to get real help today.