You know your loved ones inside and out, so when they exhibit out-of-character behaviors, you’re often the first to take notice. If someone close to you is struggling with a drug or alcohol addiction, there is an exhaustive list of signs to look for, but some of the most common signs include: depression, mood swings, violent outbursts, slurred speech, skin rashes and/or track marks, withdrawal, trembling, irritability, drastic weight changes (usually loss), and lack of responsibility both personally and professionally.
As uncomfortable as it may be, you have to confront the individual of concern because ignoring the problem could lead to a fatality. You’re going to need to muster up courage and put together a proper plan before prompting a conversation. You also need to be prepared to be met with copious defense mechanisms used to protect addictive behavior. While dealing with this difficult situation isn’t easy, there is a right and wrong way to do it.
Approaching Your Loved One
● Be Specific
Don’t go into the conversation like a bull in a china shop—the attack method is only liable to make your loved one even more defensive. In a non-accusatory manner, state specific facts and dates associated with negative actions and behavior. Mention how you can’t help but notice how happy, positive, hardworking, etc., they used to be so that you make it clear you’re coming from a place of love and concern.
● Express Your Love
Studies indicate that those struggling with an addiction are usually insecure, so the tough love approach may backfire. Make sure your loved one understands that you are going to provide non-judgemental support through thick and thin.
● Understanding the Addiction
An addiction is a disease, so make sure your loved one understands their situation is not their fault. Try to prevent them from feeling sorry for themselves as that can fuel the addiction. Facts about the risks of drug and alcohol abuse can potentially convince someone to get help, so don’t be afraid to come armed with a few facts when you’re having a serious conversation.
Offer Ways to Help But Don’t Overdo It
Offer to help your loved one in ways that make it easier for them to focus on their recovery. This can include taking care of pets, babysitting kids on occasion, running errands, or preparing healthy meals. Being a listening ear is also one of the most helpful things you can do, and it takes little to no effort.
Research Rehab Facilities
If your loved one is open to it, help them find a suitable treatment facility. Logistics aside, you’re going to want to do research on which doctors are on staff (experience, expertise, etc.) and what type of treatment methods are available. It’s helpful to compile a list of questions to ensure there are options available that don’t spark another addiction problem—like an addiction to opioids. According to Swift River, “America’s opioid epidemic has increased the need for quality addiction treatment and safe opioid detoxification.” Examples include: psychosocial therapies, medically supervised detox, individual and group psychotherapies, family support, after care, and monitored medication-assisted therapy.
Despite many common threads among recovery survivors, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to treatment. Even though you want to be a source of support, you also have to know when to walk away if your loved one is not accepting your help. If you’re in a relationship—especially marriage—it’s a good idea to incorporate counseling into an overall treatment plan as many partnerships are put to the test.
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Guest Author BIO:
Bethany Hatton lives in Atlanta, USA, a retired librarian with 32 years of experience, created PreventAddiction.info after her oldest grandson became addicted to opioids.
She dedicated herself to searching the internet to find the most reputable, reliable information to share on her site. She analyzed, compiled, and categorized hundreds of resources so that she could be sure she included only the best of the best for her visitors.