Drug or alcohol problems can expose families and friends to unexpected and exhausting stresses. A family member’s drug or alcohol use can cause considerable disruption to normal life. Often that person will attempt to manipulate or deny the reality and gravity of their problem in an effort to protect their family and the addictive behaviour that they’ve become reliant upon.
Coping with drug addiction in the family can have an effect on everyone concerned. Living with an addict can be exhausting and family members are often torn between what to do with a drug addicted family member and how to avoid being sucked into the addict’s world themselves. In this informative and supportive blog, Port of Call, private rehab and drug rehab specialists, look at how to cope with drug addiction in the family and how to treat a drug addict family member.
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For those closest to the addicted person feelings of shame, guilt and self-blame invariably surface. These perfectly natural emotions can fuel a cycle of negative coping mechanisms. It can be a painful, lonely experience. However, it is crucial to understand that you are not responsible for someone else’s addiction or behaviour. It may seem counterintuitive for a family that is affected by addiction to seek help for themselves. But through helping yourselves you are actually sending a clear signal to the addict that a change for the better can be achieved.
What to do with a drug addicted family member?
No matter what happens, you must never assist or help your loved one to obtain drugs or to support their addictive behaviour. Even if they are begging, you must remain strong and learn to say no. Remember that addiction can take hold of anyone and that, even though it hurts, the addict in your family probably has no specific intention of causing anyone else pain.
On the contrary, addiction is often a sign that the person is suffering internally and needs help. Avoid any exposure to situations where they might feel tempted to use drugs or drink, and avoid putting them in uncomfortable situations where they might want to “escape” by doing drugs later on. Above all, try not to blame yourself for a loved one’s addiction. While you can and should be concerned, the ultimate decision to go into recovery will ultimately be theirs.
How to treat a family member with a drug addiction?
Even if the drug addicted family member will not seek therapy or rehab, it is important that you get help when you need it. It can be very tiring and stressful living with an addict and there are many organisations out there that are dedicated to helping family members to cope with this kind of situation.
See if you can try to understand what might have caused the addiction and why it happened. Understanding can place you in a stronger position to provide more support for your loved one and be more compassionate. Set boundaries that you all agree on. The goal of boundaries is to improve the health of the family as a whole but never use these boundaries to punish or shame.
The three C’s of dealing with drug addiction
Much as you may wish to, there is no easy way to help someone to achieve recovery from addiction. When you love someone and they have changed their behaviour due to their addiction, it can be all too easy to wish for that person to be back as they were in the old life you had together. But it can be the old life that has triggered or led to the addiction. It is far healthier to create new space and a new life together – one without addiction – where you can all live together.
The right help, at the right time
Whether it be an intervention, private rehab, or specialist addiction counsellors there are many ways to get help and Port of Call can assist you with all of them. Our blogs, for example, ‘My son has a drug addiction’ could help guide the next steps you take. We will give you a free and confidential assessment over the telephone and can then help you to navigate towards the most appropriate course of treatment and support for you and your family. Family support is available at a lot of alcohol and drug rehabs, so you are never alone. Please call our free phone line on 08000029010, we are ready and willing to help you.
NCADD (National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence).
Help for Families
Addiction is a family disease that stresses the family to the breaking point, impacts the stability of the home, the family’s unity, mental health, physical health, finances, and overall family dynamics.