You’ve identified the signs and confronted your loved one. Your worst fears have been confirmed: your loved one is addicted to alcohol or drugs.
It may feel like the end of the world at first, but don’t give up hope. Watching your loved one struggle with an addiction can be incredibly hard, but they can turn things around. With support from friends and family and the right treatment plan, your loved one can recover from their addiction.
Before we look at how to get help for your loved one, let’s get one thing out of the way.
How Not to Get Help for Your Loved One
No matter how hard you try, or how good your intentions are, you can never force your loved one into treatment.
The most important factor in recovering from an addiction is commitment. If your loved one hasn’t decided for himself or herself that they need to begin treatment, they haven’t committed to their recovery. Without their full commitment, they’re more likely to drop out of treatment prematurely or to relapse if they do complete the program.
Show Your Support
Rather than forcing your loved one, encourage them to enter treatment for their addiction. It may be slow going, but they are far more likely to recover if they come to the decision for themselves.
Approach any conversations about entering treatment delicately, and let them know you’re there to support them.
When they begin to come around to the idea of undergoing treatment, involve them in deciding which type of treatment might be best.
Set Boundaries if You Need to
Being there for your loved one while they’re struggling from addiction is one thing, but it’s important to take care of yourself, too. If you find yourself often feeling overwhelmed, resenting your loved one, or compromising your values to help them, it’s a sign that you need to set boundaries.
As with any difficult conversation, talking to your loved one about boundaries should be approached delicately. Avoid blaming or judging, and speak as neutrally as possible. It may not feel like it at first, but you’ll both be better off for it. Setting boundaries early on is one of the best ways to minimize any strain their addiction puts on your relationship.
Take Preventative Measures Against Relapse
If you’ve managed to encourage your loved one to seek help, that’s great! Unfortunately, the battle may not be over just yet.
For a lot of people who have struggled with addiction, completing one treatment program doesn’t mean they’re cured. In fact, relapsing is a common setback many addicts face on their road to recovery, but relapse doesn’t mean failure.
Work with your loved one to decide on a support plan to prevent relapse once they’ve finished their treatment program. This plan may look different depending on the severity of their addiction, and may include identifying and removing triggers, regularly meeting with a counselor or a support group, or perhaps even checking into a sober living facility.
The bottom line is while it can be incredibly painful to watch someone you love deal with an addiction, you can help them work towards lifelong recovery.