When one realizes that a loved one has developed an addiction problem, it is a painful and stressful experience. Addiction refers to the compulsive desire to engage in some activity or use of a particular substance. The levels to which a person can be addicted vary depending on the individual, as well as the activity or substance causing the addiction. As part of the individual’s support system, there are a few things you can do to help combat the addiction.
Educate Yourself about the Addiction
As the archaic adage prescribes, knowledge is power. Having reliable and in-depth knowledge about the nature of addiction and the specific substance or activity affecting your loved one is a vital aspect of support. Such knowledge is paramount if you are to offer advice, deal with the effects of addiction, and provide the requisite resources to help you counter the addiction. Such crucial information can be gleaned from the internet, academic journals, or from visits to addiction resource centers.
Find a Support System for Yourself
When called upon to offer support to others, many neglect their own needs; consequently, reducing their ability to care of the other person. Caring for an addict is a consuming process that requires effort and understanding; two qualities which need to be replenished as often as possible. Create a support network of family and friends in which you can confide in and avoid blaming yourself. Consider that you also have a life to live.
Find People who have Walked the Same Path
Treatments that involve social activities have been found to improve chances of recovering from addictions dramatically. Join a support group from your local area or find one on the internet. Such support groups offer advice garnered from experience and familiarity with your situation and can be invaluable contacts during times of dire need.
Prevent the Individual from Relapsing
Playing the role of gatekeeper is often a strenuous experience which if not handled the right way, can lead to resentment. The role usually involves watching the behavior of the loved one to ensure that he/she does not engage in behavior that may lead to a relapse. To be effective in such a role, it is imperative to sit down with the addict and talk about the objectives of your actions and the expected activities in the recovery program. The entire process invariably involves compromise to ensure that both parties are reasonably comfortable with the agreement.
Engage Constructively with Mental Health Providers
Denial is a big part of addiction. Many addicts are habitually unable to view their situation with the clarity required to escape from the addiction. If your loved one seeks help from a professional therapist, it can be helpful. However, ensure that both the therapist and your loved one hear your perspective on the issue. Ensure that any information that you provide is positive and constructive, and does not derail the progress you have made with the addict.