An Addict In The Family

by Claire Raymond 2 months ago in family

Having an addict in the family can cause so many problems

An Addict In The Family

Having a family member who is addicted to anything can be incredibly difficult. You have to sit back and watch someone you love make decisions that you don’t think are the best for them. And the whole time you feel completely helpless.

And whilst an addict needs to help themselves, there are some things you can do to help them and also help yourself along the way.

Don’t Enable

Some people disagree with this and continue to buy drugs or drink for the addict. This isn’t going to help them. All you’re doing is making it easier for them to continue with their habit. I can kind of see where people are coming from because they justify it with things like “at least they won’t go out stealing for it.” But it’s not helping them, it’s eliminating any chance of progress or rehabilitation because someone they love has basically given it the green light.

Don’t Push

Trying to force someone to open up about what’s happening tends to have the opposite effect. The same applies to getting someone to admit they’re addicted to something. It’s something they need to realise on their own. Don’t pry or push them. Let them know that you’re there if they need help, but don’t try to make them open up.Don’t Expect Quick Change

Rehabilitation isn’t a switch, it’s a process. And it might not be linear. People may have relapses, they might resist help, anything could happen. It could be long-winded and you have to be patient. Don’t abandon all hope of progress because someone had a relapse. It could just be a temporary setback.

Do Listen Without Lecturing

If they trust you enough to come to you, then you should see that as a positive thing. You need to listen carefully to what they have to say without lecturing or criticising them. If you do, then they won’t come to you again as the trust will be broken. They need to be able to feel like they can confide in you. If you don’t listen, they’ll stop talking. Or they’ll talk to someone who will give them bad or even dangerous advice.

Do Look After Yourself

You’re Going through a hell of a time too. You can’t look after someone else if you don’t look after yourself. Get support from online groups where people are going through the same thing. Talk to a trusted friend or family member and take time every day for yourself. Even if it’s something as simple as a quiet cup of coffee at the dining room table. Take it and cherish it. When you’re going through something like this, self care is totally necessary. 

Don’t Judge

You don’t know what they’ve been through or what they’re going through. Even if it’s your child, you still don’t know what they’ve been through. There could well be things that they’re not telling you. We’re all a couple of wrong turns away from being where they are. They’re in the position that they’re in, judging them isn’t going to help them.

Talk To An Addiction Specialist

Addiction counsellors aren’t just there for those who have the addiction. They are there for friends and family members too. They can offer specialised support and ways to cope.

Do Call The Police/Ambulance If You Need To

If the situation is out of control and people’s lives are in danger, call the appropriate emergency services. They are trained to handle things like this, let them do their job and you deal with what happens afterwards.

People with addictions don’t need judgement or lectures. They need understanding and help. But they have to want help, so you need to make sure you’re around when they do. 

Claire Raymond
Claire Raymond
Read next: Never In the Cover of Night
Claire Raymond

I have been a writer for 14 years now, I'll figure it out one day.

See all posts by Claire Raymond