Nearly half of all Americans have known someone who has struggled with alcohol or drug addiction. Pew Research Center reports that 46% of the public have known someone battling addictions to drugs like cocaine, crack, meth, prescription painkillers, ecstasy, and so on. In addition to that, approximately 21 million Americans are addicted to alcohol. The disease of addiction is one that not only affects the people who are experiencing it on a first-hand basis, but also those around them. It can become extremely complex for individuals who are witnessing a loved one grapple with addiction to figure out how to properly handle the situation. It is absolutely vital to learn how to support someone with addiction in a manner that can help encourage positive outcomes.
5 Ways to Support Someone With Addiction
If you are being impacted by someone with an addiction, there are things that you can do to make the current situation easier to manage. It might seem like an insurmountable challenge to accomplish, but with patience and perseverance, it can be done.
#1. Do not judge
No matter what the situation is, it can be easy to make judgments about someone else. While we might not do so with bad intentions, sometimes judgment can be more obvious than we might think. When dealing with someone who has an addiction, it is critical to check all your judgments at the door. Living with the disease of addiction is extremely difficult, even if it might not seem like it. It is important that when interacting with your loved one, you do not use judgmental words or tone. You want to be there to support your loved one, not add more fuel to an already out-of-control fire.
It can be difficult to empathize with someone with an addiction because this particular disease can be gut-wrenching all around. You might have resentments and anger towards this individual, or you may even feel emotionless when discussing them. Either way, empathy can go a long way when it comes to supporting someone with an addiction. Empathize with your loved ones by putting yourself in their shoes. Understand that the feelings they have are real to them and are negatively affecting them. It is not your place to determine how and why your loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol, rather it is your place to recognize that something deeper is occurring.
#3. Do not enable
Enabling someone with addiction allows them to continue to abuse drugs and alcohol in the manner that they prefer as a result of your assistance. Most people do not want to enable someone they love to keep an addiction going, but it often happens (usually unintentionally). When you enable someone, you do things that make their lives easier, only to allow them to stay focused on using. Examples of enabling include providing the individual with money, driving them to and from their dealer’s house, allowing them to live in your house while using, and covering up for them to work, law enforcement, or anyone else looking to pry more into their substance abuse problem.
#4. Educate yourself
When you want to support someone with an addiction, arguably the most important thing you can do is educate yourself about this particular disease. If you are living with it every single day (even if you are not the one using it), educating yourself might seem unnecessary. However, that could not be farther from the truth. When you are that close to active addiction, your own individual emotions can be drummed up and cloud what is really occurring — an untreated disease. Spend time researching the disease of addiction so that you can understand why it occurs, how it occurs, and why it isn’t easy to “just stop” using. Make the effort to learn more about how the brain is impacted by addiction. The more information you learn, the better you can understand your loved ones, allowing for your desire to support them to drown out the negative emotions you have regarding this situation.
#5. Get help
Addiction is a very intense, horrific disease. It can impact people deeply and even cost them their lives. If you have someone you love with an addiction, one of the best things you can do is get help for yourself. Speak to your therapist (or get one if you do not already have one) about what is occurring in your life. Share about the addiction that you are exposed to and how it affects you. With the help of a trained professional, you can learn how to deal with addiction so that it doesn’t feel so overwhelmingly draining. This will then allow you to be more available to support your loved one who is still using drugs or alcohol.
Addiction Treatment in Nashville
If you are struggling to help support someone with addiction or if you are grappling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, reach out to us right now. Our team at Detox Nashville is licensed and experienced in helping individuals put a stop to their active addictions and begin living a happier and healthier life.
If you are ready to get started on a brighter tomorrow, contact us right now.