If you have a family member or other close loved one who suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction, you could be wondering what you can do to help. However, at the same time, it is probably important to you to avoid enabling him or her. It can be tricky to be helpful without participating in enabling behavior, but these five tips can help.
1. Help Them Find an Addiction Treatment Facility
Your loved one might struggle to get clean alone, but finding a facility and enrolling in treatment might be overwhelming. One way that you can help is by assisting your loved one in finding an addiction treatment center and getting enrolled in treatment.
2. Lend an Ear
People who are struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction often struggle with a lot of emotions. Your loved one might not feel as if he or she can really open up to anyone about these feelings. Simply lending an ear and allowing your loved one to talk about his or her struggles and experiences can be more helpful than you might realize. During this time, though, it is important to avoid judging your loved one, no matter how difficult it might be for you to understand his or her addiction.
3. Provide Transportation to Treatment
Spending time in an addiction treatment facility, going to regular meetings, attending drug or alcohol counseling and otherwise seeking professional substance abuse treatment can help your loved one a lot. Of course, if your loved one does not have a vehicle or some other reliable form of transportation to get to these places, then this can cause a big problem.
If possible, you may want to consider making arrangements to provide your loved one with transportation to and from treatment. Just be sure that you don’t give your loved one any money for transportation, since this money could be used to purchase drugs or alcohol. You should also avoid giving your loved one rides to liquor stores, drug dealers’ homes and other similar places.
4. Participate in Family Therapy
In many cases, it is helpful for drug and alcohol addicts to participate in family therapy. Unfortunately, not all addicted individuals have family members who are willing to participate. If you do so, it could mean a lot to your loved one. Plus, you might find that you learn a lot and that you get a lot of help with healing and coping while going to therapy yourself. In fact, you might find that you are interested in going to individual therapy yourself after you see how helpful family therapy can be for you and your family during this difficult time.
5. Attend Meetings
It isn’t just addicts that can benefit from going to meetings. There are actually groups and meetings that are designed with an addict’s family members and other loved ones in mind. Going to these meetings can give you an opportunity to meet others in a similar situation, and it can allow you to vent and talk about your own feelings and experiences a little bit. Plus, you can get helpful advice for dealing with your loved one’s addiction, too.
Having a family member or close friend who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can be very difficult. It might be important to you to do everything that you can to help, but you might be concerned about accidentally enabling your loved one along the way. Luckily, following the tips above can help you get started. Additionally, while you are in therapy or when you are attending meetings yourself, you might learn additional tips for helping your loved one rather than enabling. Just be sure to cut yourself some slack along the way; knowing how to help someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol can be very difficult, and you might make mistakes along the way. If you do your best, though, you might be able to help your loved one more than you think.