Addiction is a disease that affects more than just the individual who is addicted. Addiction affects the user and everyone around them in various nefarious ways.
As a family member of an addict, there are many conflicting feelings you will face. It helps to shower yourself in knowledge as a combatant against the mental struggles that come along with addiction.
The best piece of advice you can receive is to read, read, and read some more about every aspect of addiction. Start learning now, and read through a few helpful ways to cope with an addicted family member.
Try to understand the drive of addiction
The most important misconception regarding addiction is that it is some type of personality or moral flaw in one’s character. Addiction is a disease, characterized by compulsive behaviors which are difficult to manage.
People can be more susceptible to becoming an addict for some biological and sociological impacts throughout life, but being an addict does not make a person “bad.” It makes them sick.
Don’t waste time blaming yourself
It won’t help the situation for you to sit and wallow in the thousand different ways you can find to make the addiction your fault. It’s not about you. There may be some future healing that needs to go down between you and your family member, but you are not the sole reason for that person’s addiction troubles.
Don’t waste your time and money enabling
Don’t let your love for your addicted family member cloud your judgment in terms of enabling them. Don’t give them money. Don’t buy them alcohol (or whatever their addiction may entail).
Sometimes you have to draw some very bold lines in the sand when it comes to addiction. You may have to refuse a place to live, money, and many other resources. It’s hard to accomplish that goal when the addict is your child.
Seek out others for support
People aren’t naturally solitary creatures. Human support helps dramatically in a crisis situation. Seek out an Al-anon meeting. Al-anon meetings are specifically for friends and family of addicts.
You will have the chance to meet people who are struggling with similar challenges in life, giving you a chance to unload some of your frustrations on a somewhat neutral source.
Try to keep your expectations realistic
Find a way to manage your expectations of your addicted loved one. Hoping for unrealistic progress will only leave you feeling defeated and frustrated. Try to keep your expectations realistic.
Relapse is a near certainty for most addicts the first time they receive treatment. On average, addicts relapse seven to eight times before they actually get sober. Sobriety is a long journey.