Alcohol and substance use disorders are known to be family diseases because they affect not only the individual, but their family and everyone close to that individual as well. There are many things you can do as a family member if a loved one is afflicted with the disease of addiction, such as:
Educate Yourself on Alcohol and Drugs
It’s human nature to fear what we do not fully understand. By seeking more knowledge in the areas of alcohol and drug abuse, you will gain a better understanding of the disease of addiction and be more prepared for what to expect.
Seek Help and Support for Yourself
Not only does seeking support help your well-being, it can also teach you how to cope if the individual decides against treatment. By seeking help and support for yourself, the individual may see treatment in a less threatening way as well. Al Anon is a perfect example of a support group that is specifically designed for people who have a family member/close friend that is suffering from alcohol or drug addiction.
Learn What You Can Do to Help
Only the individual with the addiction can make the decision to get help, yet offering them encouragement can go a long way. Expressing your love and concern to the individual can be more helpful than you realize. Don’t wait for the individual to “hit rock-bottom” before addressing your concern. Just like any other disease, addiction is easier to treat if caught earlier rather than later. This may be met with anger, denial, or excuses, however it is crucial that you give specific examples of the behavior that has you concerned. The individual may also make promises to cut down on their alcohol/drug use or quit using completely, however this won’t prove to be effective. The individual’s best chance to recover is to go to treatment and develop the coping skills necessary to live without alcohol or drugs.
Understand the Danger of Codependency
Codependency is an excessive or psychological dependence on a significant other, typically a significant other who requires support due to an illness or addiction. In this context, it is a dysfunctional relationship in which one person’s support enables the other’s addiction. Codependency is not present in relationships with a spouse alone. It can be a role taken on in any relationship.
Having Patience with the Recovery Process
Once the individual is in the treatment process, whether this process is using AA, sober living with a facility, or through strict rehab, it is important that you continue to stay involved. The recovery process takes time. Their recovery may include relapses or old wounds re-opening (resentments). It is important to prepare yourself for these events and focus on the positive as much as possible.
Odds are you’ve never had to help a loved one or a family member through a substance abuse disorder, but we have. We’ve helped countless people find the help they need, and we’ve supported the client’s family as they too work through uncharted territory in their life. We’re are here to help your family member and your entire family as you work to rid substance abuse from your life. If you need help coping through a family member’s recovery process, give Appelman Law Firm a call, day or night. We’ll be there to pick up the phone and get you the help you deserve.