Drug addiction is a journey that can be very long – and very draining. The thing is that even if you are not the one dealing with addiction, it’s still painful when someone close to you is. Their drug addiction affects you as well, and all you want to do is help them recover. If you have a loved one struggling with addiction, here are some tips to assist them through their recovery.
1. Find Professional Help
Dealing with drug addiction can bring some great issues, and you may not be able to help your loved one with them. Encourage them to seek rehab, as long-term addiction can be really difficult to handle on your own.
If drug addiction also leads to problems with the law, you should look into lawyers. For instance, in Virginia, you can get out of a bad sentence by simply joining a rehab center – but you need to get a good Virginia drug crime attorney. If drugs were the bane of all your loved one’s problems, then they may be able to get them out with just rehab.
2. Don’t Use Your Love as a Weapon
Being in a relationship with a person battling addiction can be very difficult. For instance, you may be very tempted to pull their guilt strings with something such as “if you really loved me, you’d give up drugs.” It makes sense to you, but chances are that it will only backfire on you.
Instead, you should keep your calm and try giving voice to your concerns. Remind them that they are not alone and that you will be there to help their recovery – as long as they are willing to do something about it. That being said, it’s also important to set some boundaries so that you are not enabling their addiction. They need to get an idea that if they don’t set themselves straight (or at least try to), you won’t be there to pick up their pieces.
3. Avoid Enabling Their Behavior
When you see someone struggling with addiction, you may feel like you should protect them from their own consequences. You pay their fines, you buy them groceries because they spent their money on drugs, or you find excuses for them. You keep telling yourself that it’s not their fault, that it’s the disease taking over their life – and while this may be partly true, enabling this behavior will only make things worse for them.
They may pull the guilt card on you – saying that you don’t care enough to save them. That being said, this kind of “tough love” will help them get through this situation. Sometimes, people need to feel the consequences of their actions in order to make a change. If you keep saving them, they’ll keep spiraling back, because they’ll know they have you to fall back on.
4. Be Realistic with Your Expectations
When someone enters a rehab program, you may think that this is it; they will recover right away. The problem is that for them, it is not that easy. In fact, up to 60% of drug addicts go through a relapse, simply because the temptation is too big – especially if they have been using these substances for a while.
Don’t expect them to keep all their promises, and don’t expect they will never once be tempted to use again – even if they promise you that. Also, don’t try to preach or lecture the addict; if anything, this will just make things worse. Just keep holding them accountable and offer your help with the treatment, without reacting with anger or pity.
5. Take Care of Yourself as Well
You might be putting all of your efforts into helping your loved one’s recovery but remember: you take care of them by taking care of yourself. By stressing yourself out with their issues, and disregarding your own, you will breed strain and resentment. You won’t be able to help them if everything seems to go downhill for you.
Make sure that you take care of yourself by getting enough sleep, exercising, eating properly, and socializing. Get support as well, if you require it. What’s important to remember here is that you aren’t alone, and just like your loved ones need care, you need it as well.
The Bottom Line
Rehab is a process that can take years, depending on the severity of the addiction. You must continue to show your support and do all you can to help them – without putting a strain on your own mental health. With care and perhaps a bit of tough love, they should be able to recover.