Effective Way of Helping an Addict
Friends and family members have to walk a fine line when trying to offer assistance to an addict. Of course, it’s natural to want to help someone you love when you see them suffering. However, recovery efforts are only as successful as the addict’s commitment to them. Because of this truth about recovery, there are good and bad ways that others can lend support to addicts. Be careful not to cross the line over into enabling their addiction. While recovery efforts can be costly, it is important to make sure that any money you give an addict is not just a way for him or her to buy more drugs or alcohol.
If the addict was only tapering down consumption because he or she could not afford any more of the substance, then your charity might be used to rekindle the addiction rather than seek a long-term treatment option. If an addict tells you that he or she needs money for treatment, you should ask to pay the treatment center directly.
Many addicts alienate their friends and family by being emotionally, verbally, or physically abusive. One of the ways that emotionally toxic relationships develop is that the addict keeps promising over and over to clean up his or her life. In order to avoid this cycle, the friend or family member needs to set clear boundaries and stick to them. Let the addict knows that you won’t tolerate if he/she keeps using.
Tough Love: The Best Way to Help an Addict
The addict needs to know that there are consequences for his or her behavior. They also need to feel like they have a purpose in life. Let them do the things that they need to do to survive. Otherwise, he/she will not realize how badly the substance is, that keeps them from living a normal life. For example, don’t pick up added responsibilities around the house or make excuses for the addict at his/her work place. Sometimes the only road to recovery is to hit rock bottom. If you keep giving the addict a safe cushion to fall on, he or she will never wake up to the realization that drugs or alcohol have ruined their relationships and their lives. You can’t sugar coat the situation—sometimes the best way to teach someone is to let them fail. Failure is often a better teacher than success.
You have to faced numerous realities about loving an addict. First, you have to give up trying to control the outcome of the situation. It doesn’t matter how much you want your loved one to get help, he or she has to want it. Second, you have to understand that you cannot change the addict. Only he or she has the power to beat addiction. By doing some work on yourself and learning to love while at the same time letting go, you will have a better relationship with an addict.
Friends and family members want to help and they want to show how much they care. But the best way to help an addict is with tough love.
After nearly two decades of drinking and destroying just about every relationship in my life, I decided to get help. I didn’t know what to expect (and in some ways, I still don’t), but getting sober has been the most rewarding, fulfilling decision I’ve ever made. In the years since I entered treatment, secured an AA sponsor, and forged friendships in sobriety that rival all the others in my life, I feel like a completely different person. It’s as if I woke up in another person’s life. I’m a married father of three young children who lives in Columbus, Ohio, along with a bossy cat named Dr. No.
Most of my recovery has been spent writing about my experiences, and I’ve been fortunate to have my work picked up by The Fix, AfterParty Magazine, The Literary Review, and The Live Oak Review, among others. I want to help others find meaningful, lasting sobriety in any way that I can, which is part of the reason I’m so committed to Genius Recovery. More than that, though, I sincerely believe in the vision, aims and purpose of Genius Recovery. I’m as passionate about recovery as I am about discovering levels to my life that I didn’t know existed. After all, addiction recovery is about hope as much as it is about possibility. Through my writing, I hope to guide others to discover what’s possible for them, too.– Paul