How to handle a family member’s addiction
There are many different types of addiction, and it can be hard to figure out how to handle each situation in the best way possible. This article will cover the basics of addiction, the different types of addiction that you’re likely to encounter, and strategies for dealing with each one in your family. Here’s what you need to know about handling addiction in your family members (and in yourself).
Addiction, or substance use disorder (SUD), is a disease that affects your brain. It makes you want to use drugs even when you know it’s hurting you and those around you. Addictive drugs change how your brain works so that you can’t feel good without them. They take over control of your life. Recovering from an addiction means living without drugs and learning how to live life on life’s terms again. Don’t despair—you have choices about what kind of future lies ahead for you, whether it involves kicking an addiction or getting support for better coping skills as part of maintaining sobriety.
Dealing with Denial
The first and most common reaction is denial. Even when confronted with irrefutable evidence, addicts and their loved ones often brush it off as some kind of lie or exaggeration—or they say that it’s only harmless experimentation. No matter how many times you explain that drug abuse is more than just fun and games, your words will likely fall on deaf ears. Addiction treatment requires them to confront their demons, and if they’re not ready for that step yet then you simply can’t force them into action. When you find yourself up against a wall dealing with an addict in denial, don’t beat yourself up over it; ultimately there are very few people who can break through that initial barrier without professional intervention from trained therapists. It will take time before anyone can convince someone else to face reality.
Getting into a rehabilitation program is tough. It’s an uncomfortable process that forces families to confront painful topics, and with so many types of addiction rehab available—inpatient, outpatient, residential, partial hospitalisation—how can anyone know where to begin? If you suspect someone in your family has an addiction problem, you might feel powerless or overwhelmed. Don’t worry: You don’t have to work through it alone. Here are some steps for finding help for a loved one with substance use disorder.
When someone has been clean for an extended period of time, many factors can lead them back down that path. Understand why relapse happens and learn strategies for handling it in your own life. It’s important to remember that no single strategy will work across-the-board—it really comes down to each individual person and their unique situation. That’s where support groups come in handy. Whether you choose one that meets face-to-face or online, you’ll have access to people who have similar goals and can offer ideas about how they’ve handled specific issues. The more tools you have at your disposal, the better equipped you are at managing relapse when it inevitably rears its ugly head.