Everyone faces hardships in life. While physical ailments, like cancer or diabetes, are looked at as valid and real struggles, there is an unfortunate stigma attached to the disease of addiction.
When someone you know or love is struggling with substance abuse or lifestyle addiction, it can be incredibly difficult to navigate, reach out, and show support. There is a fine line between abandoning a person in need of help and being overbearing to the point of making the situation harder for that individual.
If you are trying to strike this tricky balance and be a positive force in someone’s life as they recover from an addiction, here are a few tips to consider.
1. Research Addiction
People always talk about how drug abuse and addiction is a mental health issue, but have you ever really stopped to consider it any further? The more you educate yourself about how addiction works and how mental health disorders factor into addiction and recovery, the better you will be able to support a loved one through the process of recovery.
Learn how to talk about the disease in a way that is tactful and supportive, always informed by factual evidence and not fueled by stigma and shame. Through this approach, you can help close the gap of misunderstanding around addiction and open the door for other people who need help to seek it out without fear.
2. Know the Options Thoroughly
There are no perfect treatment methods that work for every person. Everyone requires a slightly different set of services that match their tendencies, beliefs, and lifestyle, and align with their goals and desires. There are so many programs out there that serve a wide range of needs, but because there are so many available programs and centers offering different approaches to rehabilitation, it is essential that you research thoroughly to ensure the center you choose is the best fit for your loved one.
For example, newlifehouse.com is a sober-living community specifically for young men that takes a holistic approach to recovery. This could be a perfect fit for some people, but not for everyone. You can’t always expect the person suffering to make these decisions on their own, so a loving and supportive hand there to open doors and explain options is world-changing.
3. Self-Reflect on Any Enabling Behaviors
It is not uncommon that, without even knowing it, you are somehow enabling a person battling addiction to carry on with their patterns and not seek or follow through with treatment. It takes a lot of strength to look yourself in the mirror and put your ego aside, but it is an essential step in becoming a true support system for the person facing addiction.
If a person is begging and pleading to leave a treatment center, recognize that it is the disease speaking, not the true individual. Don’t be afraid to express your true feelings, even the difficult ones, to the person. It is essential that they know how the disease is affecting those they love.
4. Consider Seeking Support for Yourself
You can’t be a supportive force in someone’s life if you aren’t taking care of yourself through the problem. Addiction is often talked about as a family disease, and that is largely because one person’s addiction can become pervasive and affect an entire family or community dynamic.
Seek out a support group or a therapy center that specializes in helping those who are in close proximity to addiction. From a more-informed, healthy place, you will better be able to support the person battling addiction and they can find genuine recovery.