Dealing with addiction part 2- family

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Its can be unbareably painful to watch a loved one suffer, but you need to understand no matter what they do or say it is not your fault. No one is making them be an addict except themselves and no one can stop them except themselves. However as a family member you do have an important role to play and if you follow a few simple rules you can be a big help in the road to their recovery.
Firstly do not facilitate their illness. No matter how Ill they look or how much they beg, plead or threaten, do not give them money for drugs or alcohol or buy it for them. You are not helping if you do, you’re just prolonging the problem and helping them take a step closer to death.
Even though it may be very difficult do try and stay actively part of their lives. Encourage them to come round for dinner. Talk about what is going on in their lives. Make sure they still feel part of yours. People who feel loved and wanted have more to live for than someone who feels isolated and alone.
Do not preach at them or continually harp on about their failings. Try to be positive about any step in the right direction that they make and heap praise upon them.
Offer to accompany them to doctors, counselling groups etc. Although they have to make the changes themselves, it never hurts to have someone along for moral support.
Be considerate, don’t drink in their company. Remove all alcohol from your house so they can’t be tempted. For those with drug related problems keep your first aid and medications in a locked box and make sure they do not know its location. A desperate drug addict will try and take anything.
Get help and support for your self and other family members. It is very emotionally draining to deal with an addict on a daily basis.
Talk to younger children about what is going on. Don’t try and hide it. Make sure they understand that the person is ill.
Be aware of your own safety. Addicts can be very aggressive and violent when desperate. If you can get them to leave the room when they are getting angry, make sure you do. You can’t reason with them at that point so don’t try.
Most importantly remember that somewhere inside that addict is the person you love. Try to remember the good memories from before they became that person. Hopefully one day you will have that person back.

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