5 Ways To Support A Loved One Suffering From Substance Addiction

Updated on August 10, 2020
woman smoking while look through the window

Photo Credit: Tobias Tullius (Unsplash)

Drug addiction is a complex matter that comes in various different forms, depending on the severity of the situation as well as the nature of the particular drug involved. The nature of addiction means it always affects more than just the addict themselves. Naturally, if you sense someone is going down a destructive path, the best course of action would be to nip it in the bud but things aren’t always that straightforward. If someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, whether the drug of choice is alcohol or cocaine, there are some crucial steps you can take to help them along the path to recovery: 

Accept That You Can’t Help Them Alone – Seek Help

As much as you may love someone, it’s important to realize that substance use disorders are very much real mental health issues that require attention from a medical professional. The journey of addiction recovery can be complicated. As someone fairly involved in the situation, you may also not be best placed to understand underlying triggers and the potential for relapse. Don’t take on the role of an addict’s single source of support, call in help from family members and close friends in addition to the professional support. 

Take Action Fast 

It’s hard to admit that someone you care about has an addiction problem but being in denial and delaying seeking the necessary help can have dire consequences. Putting off important conversations and ultimately an intervention, means missed opportunities for healing and increased risks of physical and emotional damage for the addict and their loved ones too. 

Avoid being an enabler 

Being close to someone with a substance addiction means that you may inadvertently be supporting the problems without fully realizing it. Don’t financially support the addict but rather let them experience the consequences of their disease. Even simply giving them a place to stay or offering financial assistance with court fees or paying for them to get a drug distribution crime attorney should they ever find themselves on the wrong side of the law, simply prolongs the disease by allowing them to avoid the consequences of their addiction. 

Set Boundaries

Giving an addict ‘just one more chance’ does no one any favors when it comes to breaking a bad habit. By making allowances, you’ll just make the road to transformation even longer. Stay true to yourself, set some boundaries on how much you are willing to tolerate and stick to those.

Remember To Prioritize Self-Care

While it may be easier said than done, it’s always important to be mindful about taking care of your own wellbeing when you are preoccupied with a loved one who is in the midst of drug addiction. Allowing your mental and physical health to deteriorate will only make matters worse as it’ll limit your capacity to provide support in the longer term. Find out about the support groups available for friends and family of an addict. Remember it’s in everyone’s interests that you take care of yourself. 

To conclude, the road to recovery is never linear, but having loved ones by your side will certainly help provided that the support they offer is productive. Remember that those suffering from a substance abuse disorder need to employ a nuanced approach when it comes to recovery and this means tackling the problem holistically from all angles. Do your research, consult professionals who are removed from the situation and can offer impartial advice and set yourself some ground rules. Each case will be different. There are no hard and fast rules so remind yourself that you are doing your best and that’s okay. Be kind to yourself. You’ve got this!

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