9 Steps to Helping a Loved One Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

9 Steps to Helping a Loved One Addicted to Drugs or Alcohol

Although some people use either recreational or prescription drugs or drink alcohol on a regular basis with no untoward effects, many others who utilize such substances experience a variety of problems, perhaps at work, school, at home, and also within relationships. This then leaves them feeling a sense of helplessness, isolation, and possibly feeling thoroughly ashamed.

During 2012 in North America, the National Institute on Drug Abuse estimated that some 23.9 million inhabitants (9.2 percent of the populace) who were 12 years of age or above had either utilized an illicit drug or had abused a form of psychotherapeutic medication (for example a tranquilizer, pain reliever, or stimulant) within the previous month.

Moreover, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism provided statistics in 2013 to demonstrate that 24.6 percent of North Americans who were 18 years of age or older had engaged in binge drinking within the previous month; some 6.8 percent were said to have engaged in heavy drinking within the previous month

Helping a Loved One Who Suffers from a Drug and/ or Alcohol Problem

If you suspect that a loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there are a number of steps you can take in order to help them:

  1. Discuss the problem as openly as you can. Talk over your concerns with the person, while offering as much support and help as possible, but avoid becoming judgmental. Addressing the issue early on is far better as there is every chance that your loved one could suffer continual emotional lows. Although your intent is to be open, do be prepared for all sorts of excuses and denial. List specific examples of their behavior that is most concerning to you.
  2. Do not attempt to threaten, preach to, bribe, or punish.
  3. Avoid making emotional appeals that can cause increased feelings of guilt, thereby serving to compound the issue even further.
  4. Keep in mind your own needs. Don’t be tempted to become so involved with the problem that you then begin to neglect your own needs. It’s wise to have people around you who can also provide emotional support for you on an ongoing basis. Emotional support may be available from other family members, close friends, healthcare providers, a therapist or a counselor, or perhaps from people within your local faith community.
  5. Do not try to make excuses or cover up for the drug and/ or alcohol abuser. And don’t try to shield them from any negative consequences they may suffer due to their behavior. Taking over their day-to-day responsibilities can have further negative impact, and it can leave them with little sense of dignity or relevance.
  6. Avoid the urge to hide or dispose of alcohol or drugs.
  7. It’s particularly important to avoid any sense of self-blame. Sure, you can offer plenty of support and encouragement, but you cannot force someone who abuses substances to change their behavior and you are not in a position to make decisions for them. An essential step to helping with recovery is to allow the individual to take full responsibility for their actions.
  8. Arguments are very likely to occur while you offer support, but do aim to circumvent and argument with your loved one when they are high.
  9. A sympathetic approach to the problem may be to indulge in drugs or alcohol together with the abuser but this merely serves to encourage their habit further.

Should you have a loved one who resides within the Hanover or Mechanicsville areas of VA and who is suffering from drugs and/ or alcohol addiction, there are a number of residential treatment centers including Williamsville Wellness Center which can offer the ideal level of professional support and therapy.

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