10 Things Families Can Do for an Addicted Loved One

Addiction is one of the hardest things to go through and recover successfully from.  It can wreck your job, your health, your relationships, it’s a nightmare.  But addiction is equally difficult for family members and friends of an addict because it’s so difficult to know how to help.  Offering your sympathies and help isn’t always the best way to approach someone struggling with a severe drug addiction.   But what can you do?

We put together this list of 10 things you can do to support the addict in your life without stepping over the edge and driving him/her away.

  1. Educate yourself on addiction and the process of recovery.  Don’t get caught off-guard or left in the dark by what’s happening.

  2. Provide a safe, completely sober environment that helps to lessen triggers and temptations to use.  This will keep your loved one at home instead of somewhere else.

  3. Behave as though your loved one has been diagnosed with a serious, life-threatening illness.  It’s often easy to overlook the medical nature of addiction due to an addict’s behavior but the reality is it’s a medical struggle that requires patience and commitment to recovery.

  4. Avoid excessive judgment or name calling.  Remember that this is difficult for everyone and only love and support can win against addiction.

  5. Accept that your lives will change forever.  With severe addictions, there’s no going back to how things were.  The sooner you embrace a new future, the easier it will be to get there.

  6. Whatever you do; Do NOT enable the addict’s drug use or relapses.  Never offer excuses for their addiction behavior and avoid covering up for them to friends, family, or coworkers.  The addict must face reality and he/she can’t do that if you continue to distort it for them.

  7. Likewise, don’t shield them from the consequences that come from their behavior.  It’s important for an addict to see the devastation caused by his/her choices so as to motivate a full recovery.

  8. Instead of giving the addict money, give them the goods they need to live (food, clothing, etc) so the money doesn’t end up enabling the addiction.

  9. Have fun.  Drugs and alcohol are often a way to escape and if an addict feels trapped, the urges will be more severe.  Instead, create other outlets for fun that are shared as a family and don’t include drugs or alcohol.

  10. Addicts in recovery feel a great deal of guilt, shame, and anger so it’s important to remind them of the greatness of their potential.  Remind them what lies ahead and what he/she can achieve with sobriety.


Published on Tue, 03/10/2015 - 23:04
By Addiction Recovery