Addiction doesn’t only harm the person abusing drugs or alcohol, but also the people closest to them. For family members living with a person affected by addiction, their experience can be heartbreaking and take a toll emotionally. In many cases, the addiction destroys relationships between loved ones, as some may want to help and others might want to avoid becoming involved in the fallout of active addiction.

Below you’ll be able to find some handy addiction help for families struggling with an alcohol or drug problem.

How You Can Help the someone with a substance use disorder?

Here are TEN ways that you can help a family member struggling with an addiction:

  1. Act as if the addiction is a life threatening disease. Do exactly what you would expect yourself to do if your loved one was diagnosed with HIV/Aids or Cancer.
  2. Learn more about the addiction and how recovery can be achieved. Find out what the signs and symptoms are, what the short and long term effects of it are and also what treatment is available.
  3. Make sure that your living environment is free from any drugs, alcohol and anything that may cause cravings for the substance.
  4. Avoid judging or accusing the person, as this is not only a stressful time for you, but for them as well.
  5. Make sure that there is time available for them to attend meetings such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
  6. Get to grips with the lifestyle changes that will happen and don’t wish that you could return to the way you previously lived, as it was during this period that the person became addicted to drugs or alcohol. One of the most important steps of recovery is creating a new life.
  7. Make time for enjoyment and to relax, as this is one of the main reasons why some people begin to use drugs or alcohol in the first place. Find new ways to have fun and unwind without using these addictive substances.
  8. Don’t enable your loved one’s addiction or behaviour. Let the take responsibility for their actions and this the only way that they will learn to change.
  9. Set new limits for what is allowed and what isn’t and make sure they are boundaries that everyone agrees to follow. If the addict should break it, punish them according to what was agreed on.
  10. Support them financially by getting the things they want by buying it yourself instead of giving money away, as the addict might use this to buy drugs or alcohol.

How You Can Help Yourself

  1. Make sure that you are able to take care of yourself before seeing to anyone else’s needs.
  2. Don’t blame yourself, it’s not your fault that your loved one became addicted to drugs or alcohol, it’s a decision they made on their own.
  3. Ensure that you don’t work harder than your addicted loved one, in fact, don’t do things for them at all. Taking care of their needs isn’t healthy and try to understand that there is only so much that you can do to help them change.
  4. Get professional help and try to attend groups such as Al-anon or Nar-anon, which offer support for family members of alcohol or drug addicts.
  5. Avoid disagreeing or deliberating things with the addict when they are intoxicated. It’s not worth the effort and time.
  6. Stop being negative. This will only make the situation worse and may cause them to use more of the addictive substance.

Here are the 3 C’s to keep in mind when dealing with an alcohol or drug addict:

  1. You didn’t CAUSE the addiction.
  2. You can’t CONTROL the addiction.
  3. You can’t CURE the addiction.