5 Ways You Can Actually Help An Addicted Loved One

You’ve probably sat for hours, days, maybe even years trying to find the ultimate solution to helping your loved one get clean.  You’ve likely read books, articles, forum conversations and more simply trying to find something you can do that actually works.  

Prepare yourself to be a bit uncomfortable, because the answers that lie ahead probably aren’t what you want to hear.  If you so dare, read through some distinct ways in which you can actually help your addicted loved one.  

Turn your sights inward 

Instead of focusing all of your energy on figuring out how to “fix” your addicted loved one’s issues, turn your sights inward.  Focus on making yourself mentally and physically strong, so you can be the healthiest support system possible.  

Your addicted loved one will need support, especially when they do choose to explore sobriety.  Find ways to enrich your internal spark, and stay the course of your own life to be more helpful to your friend, family member, or partner.  

Practice influence versus control 

Trying to control another person’s actions is an unwinnable battle.  You cannot force your loved one to get clean. You can, however, suggest a capable treatment center for them to attend, and help them get there.  

Evaluate the true nature of your relationship

It is crucial that you understand the ins and outs of the term “codependency.”  If you are in a codependent relationship with the person who is struggling with addiction, you are likely putting yourself through far more mental anguish than is necessary.  

The best way to combat the effects of codependency is education and talk therapy.  The more you learn about and talk about your feelings and behaviors, the more accurate the mental picture of your relationship will become.  

Educate yourself on enabling 

Draw out very clear lines in your mind between enabling and supporting your loved one.  It’s not healthy to feel an obligation to drive your alcoholic partner to and from the bar, so they won’t run the risk of getting into trouble.  

It sounds like the right thing to do, but it places you in a very unhealthy position.  It’s important to keep in mind that we are all responsible for our own actions, and you cannot control your addicted loved one.  You cannot spend your life babysitting.  

Reach out for your own support 

If you live with your addicted loved one, it’s not a bad idea to reach out for your own support.  Groups like Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are centered around creating a safe space for those directly affected by the addiction of a family member, partner, friend, child, etc.  If nothing else, the meetings are an outlet for your thoughts.

Zoe Kickhefer
zoe@everydaylifes.com

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