By: Bethany Winkel
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How Can I Help My Loved One?
Many people live for weeks, months, or even years with an addicted loved one. Over this period of time, both the addict and their loved ones will suffer from the irresponsibility, hurt feelings, and anger that are brought on by addiction. Many people in this situation don’t know where to turn, so they continue living in uncertainty and dysfunction. In many cases, it is up to loved ones to step up and talk to their loved one and find help for the family.
The First Step is to Talk to Your Loved One
There are many reasons a family member or close friend will avoid confronting their loved one about addiction. Sometimes they are afraid of what the person will say or how it will affect their relationship. Other times they have seen loved ones get shot down when they confronted the addict and don’t want to have the same thing happen to them. Still, others are unsure of what to say or how to even help the addict.
The first step toward helping your addicted loved one is to talk to them. Be honest and loving, and tell your loved one how their addiction is impacting those around them, including yourself. Tell them that you are willing to do whatever you can to help, but that you want them to get treatment for their addiction.
Consider an Intervention
If your loved one will not listen to you or other family members and friends, you need to take it one step further. Contact a treatment facility that can help you with intervention services. This will allow you and your family to talk to your loved one in a constructive, positive way, in the hopes that they will see their need for treatment. Visit the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) website for more intervention information.
If your loved one still will not listen, make sure you get help for yourself. Find a support group, counselor, or doctor that can help you with any depression or anxiety you have because of living with someone with an addiction, and to learn the best way to interact with your loved one.
In general, when interacting with an addicted loved one, remember to always:
- Set boundaries
- Be loving
- Protect yourself