Seven Tips for Supporting Your Loved One Through Addiction
Addiction can happen at any age. In fact, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) nearly one in four 18-20 year olds abuse illicit drugs. If your loved one is one of the millions of people struggling with drug addiction, you may feel sad, confused, worried, and alone. It’s okay to have each of these feelings, but we want to remind you that you’re not alone—and you and your loved one are loved.
Parent tips for helping those struggling with addiction
The caring, experienced team of clinical and support professionals at Gateway Rehab are eager to help your loved one along the recovery journey and prepare his or her mind, body, and spirit for a new, healthy, positive way of living. Here are seven tips to help you support your loved one at home:
Those who are addicted to drugs and alcohol will do or say anything in order to get access to more. These actions may often damage relationships— however, it’s important to maintain good communication with your loved one to help strengthen and rebuild the relationship.
2. Listen without judgment
If your loved one decides to talk to you about their struggle, its important to listen without judging, interrupting, criticizing or offering advice. They want to be heard, understood and valued. Let them know they are important by giving them your full attention and focus.
Encouragement and optimism help build a sense of teamwork between you and your loved one while reducing conflict and negativity. This strategy helps him or her feel safe to try new healthy coping skills, try new activities, rebuild peer relationships and face challenges.
4. Set expectations
The best guidelines are clear, leaving no room for interpretation. You can set them up like cause and effect statements: If (action) occurs (response) will be your consequence. Establishing guidelines for the most common events will reduce emotional reactions and improve positive outcomes.
5. Set boundaries
People with drug addiction are very good at testing boundaries, especially with those they love. It’s important to build strong, clear boundaries with your loved one, so he or she understands what you will and will not do for them.
6. Practice self-care
Caring for someone with an addiction can be emotionally and physically taxing. Take time for yourself so you can be the person they need as they journey toward recovery. Practicing self-care allows you to model desirable behaviors for your loved one.
7. Avoid harsh responses
Harsh punishments, like changing the locks or refusing to answer the door when they come home drunk or high, will only make a bad situation worse. Those with drug addiction need love and compassion more than ever—as well as positive influence and values.
If your loved one is struggling with drug or alcohol abuse and you’re not sure what to do, we can help bring hope and healing into their life. Gateway Rehab is the most comprehensive and experienced drug treatment center in the region and we are ready to help your loved one today. Call 412-500-9851 to speak to one of our skilled support specialists.