Supporting and enabling are two very different behaviors. If someone in your life is struggling with addiction, you want to be supportive and offer them the tools and nurturing they need to recover and reclaim their life. But support can sometimes morph into enabling their negative and destructive behavior. Taking care of an addict sometimes leads to putting their needs before your own, making excuses for their behavior, giving them resources to continue their addiction, and denying there’s a problem. Support looks very different and it consists of not only providing positivity but also holding the addict accountable. Here are 5 ways you can positively support the addict in your life and help steer them down the road to recovery.
1. Educate Yourself
The best thing you can do for both yourself and the addict in your life is to educate yourself about their specific addiction. Whether it’s an alcohol or substance abuse issue or something far less common, like sex addiction or an eating disorder, the first step to being a supportive figure in their lives is to learn what they’re going through. No pamphlet, book, or website can tell you exactly what the addict in your life is feeling or experiencing, but this information can help prepare you for the journey.
Find out the physical, emotional, and psychological withdrawal symptoms your loved one may experience while weaning off their addiction. Research what you can do to make this process easier. It’s okay to try and relate to your loved one, but avoid telling them you know exactly how they feel or you understand what they’re going through, because unless you were once an addict, you can only speculate about exactly what they’re experiencing.
2. Find Helpful Resources
Not everyone has experience with addiction, which means that collecting information and resources is crucial for being a supportive figure in your loved one’s life. There are countless resources available, not just for information but for help as well. Support groups are available for both addicts and their family members. Sometimes, you need support too. You might need advice on how to handle a specific situation or how to control your reactions to the addict. It’s okay to ask for help. If the addict’s condition is out of your control, they might need intervention. Outpatient care is one option, or facilities such as Changing Tides Recovery Center offer personalized treatment programs.
3. Be Patient and Realistic
Don’t set your expectations too high. Even if you’re ready to help support the addict in your life on their road to recovery, they might not be as prepared as you had hoped. Addicts often relapse or encounter weak moments of temptation and doubt. This is completely normal and a natural part of the recovery and withdrawal process. Don’t expect your loved one to wake up one day and no longer need their drug of choice, without repercussion or struggle. By setting your expectations too high, you’re setting yourself up for failure and disappointment. Take one day at a time and celebrate all of the addicts small accomplishments, but expect some missteps along the way.
Being a source of support for the addict in your life is extremely admirable, but it can also be a difficult position to find yourself in. Collect as much information and as many resources as possible before tackling this very delicate situation. Try to be supportive without being pushy. And don’t accept negative behavior from the addict just because you’re afraid of upsetting or pushing them away. Supporting an addict is sometimes about tough love and accountability.
Article Submitted By Community Writer