If someone close to you is an addict, you know that the road to recovery can have some bumps in it. One of these bumps is relapse. When this happens, you might want to provide help every way you can, but is that really the best way to get your loved one through this? Addiction treatment and at home supports can be counterintuitive to your emotions. If your loved one has relapsed, you can help. Learn how to help an addict effectively and support him or her at the same time.
What are Enabling and Codependency?
These are words you may frequently hear when discussing addiction. Enabling is when someone “helps” a person, but this assistance is demotivating or allows them to continue negative behaviors. Some examples are lending money when they’ve spent all of theirs on drugs or alcohol, or providing a place to sleep when they’ve been thrown out of their housing or can’t afford their own.
Codependency is more deeply emotionally or psychologically rooted. It affects the way you form relationships. Basically, the person who is “codependent” develops an unhealthy level of attachment, and is often fixated on pleasing the other person in the relationship. The codependent person derives their self-worth from being needed by the other person.
How to Help an Addict
Let’s start with how you shouldn’t help. You shouldn’t aid your loved one by enabling them or allowing codependency. Instead, don’t deny there’s a problem. Take the relapse seriously. Don’t justify the drug or alcohol use, or deny that it’s happening. You need to confront the issue head-on. Some things you shouldn’t do are:
- Give them extra money or work overtime to make up for their lost wages.
- Take on more chores to pick up the slack.
- Make excuses or cover for them.
- Blame them or someone else for the addiction.
While you can’t make them stop using or fix them, you can:
- Provide emotional support and listen to them if they need to talk.
- Allow them to deal with the consequences. Sheltering them hurts more than it really helps.
- Set boundaries and make rules. They need to know what’s acceptable and what isn’t.
- Be supportive and optimistic.
- Get them into a treatment program.
This is just a short list of how you can be supportive and help your loved one down the road to recovery. Remember, your love is a vital piece of the puzzle; you just need to give it in suitable, productive ways.
Enlist Outside Help
If you’d like to help your loved one, and avoid enabling and codependency, then it’s wise to get assistance from outside of your circle of family and friends. Treatment centers, therapists, and 12-step programs are all meant to help addicts avoid their substances of choice. They provide friendship, a support network, and coping strategies. Both you and your loved one need to understand you can’t do it alone.
Addiction Treatment Centers
Addiction treatment comes in several forms, as you may already know. There are both inpatient and outpatient treatment facilities. Or, something called a partial inpatient hospitalization may work better for those who work or go to school. Treatment can also be long term or short term. There are a wide variety of options, and sitting down with a counselor or therapist is the best way to decide what may work.
If you need help for drug addiction for a family member, BlueCrest Recovery Center can help. Need more information about drug addiction treatment centers and services? Call us at 973-298-5776!