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Tips for Dealing with a Family Member Struggling with Addiction

According to the National Institute of Health, 10% of US adults struggle with addiction at some point in their lives. That means millions of people have friends and family members who struggle with addiction that feel powerless to help. Here are a few tips to help you deal with a loved one who is either in the throes of addiction or on the path to recovery.   

Be Patient 

Rome wasn’t built in a day. It’s important to be patient with a family member or close friends struggling with addiction because they need your help, not your scorn. That doesn’t mean you should cave to their desires or condone harmful behaviors, especially if they are still using. However, if you care about them, it’s important to be patient if they are trying to seek help and get sober. It’s difficult to admit that you have a problem and take the steps to overcome it. Everyone has to do it on their own time and come to their own conclusions, otherwise, they will never be able to fully commit to recovery. It can be frustrating to watch those close to you make destructive decisions, but you have to continue to provide support and advice while letting them make their own choices.

Have Empathy 

When dealing with a family member with an addiction, it’s important to have empathy and avoid judgment. You may not know what it’s like to struggle with addiction and therefore the behavior of someone struggling with alcohol or drug use may seem strange and unexplainable. It’s important to remember that genetics play a big part in addiction. Research has shown that genes play a major role in how a person responds to their environment, which is part of what causes addiction in addiction. Although personal choices also play a role, you should remember that addiction is a disease, and it’s not a person’s fault that they have addictive tendencies. It is their responsibility to recognize their addictions and seek help if it’s negatively impacting themselves and those around them. But if you truly want to help your loved ones overcome their struggles, it’s important to have empathy for their situation and try as best you can to forgive them for any negative behavior.

Offer Support 

The best thing you can do as a family member of someone struggling with addiction is offered your love and support. If they are still using, you may choose to distance yourself until they decide to make a change, but you should still let them know you care about them, and you are willing to help when they decide to quit. Having a simple phone conversation with someone who is on the brink of relapse or making any other bad decisions related to drugs and alcohol can have a major impact on a person’s choices to stay clean or return to the spiral of addiction. Many forever addicts relapse simply because they don’t have an adequate support system around them to avoid falling back into negative behaviors. Providing that support system can go a long way toward helping your loved one in the recovery process.

If you need additional resources or professional help for a friend or family member struggling with addiction