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How to Help a Loved One Battling Addiction

Having a loved one with addiction takes a tremendous toll on everyone, especially the family members who want to help but don't know how to offer support and avoid making things worse. Supporting addiction recovery means knowing what to do and what not to do.

Supporting Addiction Recovery with Family Support

If you are helping a loved one who is battling addiction, supporting addiction recovery starts with family support. Family support is integral whether your loved one is:

  • Struggling with an addiction for the first time
  • Hasn't ever received professional treatment but needs it
  • Has received treatment in the past and relapsed several times

Family support means still loving and caring for your loved one, regularly reminding them that you want what's best, and that does not include addiction, and offering guidance on how to get treatment. Supporting your loved one does not extend to enabling behavior, but it can extend to someone with whom they can openly discuss addiction and a resource for addiction management education.

Intervention Strategies

Intervention strategies can be a very useful way of supporting addiction recovery. Interventions are a way to continue your family support by expressing to a loved one the impact their addiction has had on yourself or other members of the family.

  • Set up a specific time and place for the intervention to occur
  • Choose your participants wisely
  • Have everyone write and rehearse what they will say
  • Have a facility on hand in case your loved one accepts help
  • Work with a professional if necessary

Where you set up the intervention is somewhere you know your loved one will feel comfortable, but neutral territory like the office of a trained interventionist. Make sure you select people with whom your family member or loved one has a good relationship. Not every family member needs to be a part of an intervention, especially those with whom there's an acrimonious relationship.

When you are supporting addiction recovery in this way, you need to be strong and firm in your delivery, and that means writing down what you plan to say ahead of time and rehearsing it. Family members and other participants of an intervention can get together and rehearse as a group to provide feedback and encouragement.

If you need help with how to go about applying intervention strategies, you can still offer family support by using professional intervention services. Facilities like our Spokane intensive outpatient program can not only be the facility you have on standby in case your loved one accepts the need for help, but they can also provide assistance in finding intervention specialists and using intervention strategies.

Enabling Behavior

Look out for enabling behavior when supporting addiction recovery. You might not realize that you are using enabling behavior and, therefore, helping a loved one to continue with harmful behaviors. 

Avoiding enabling behavior means:

  • Setting boundaries
  • Attaching consequences to breaking those boundaries
  • Enforcing the boundaries

For example:

Let's say you have an adult son living with you who has a 7-year history with addiction, only ever completing one type of outpatient rehab before relapsing, starting but not finishing other forms of treatment, and continuing to battle with several types of drugs.

Setting Boundaries

If you know that your son who lives with you will, when his anxiety or depression is high, use your car to drive somewhere and buy drugs, you have to set boundaries that involve things like not allowing him to use your vehicle alone.

Attaching Consequences

You might recognize that there are plenty of circumstances under which he might need things like to get from your house to his job or to go to the store, but you set clear rules that you or your spouse will go with him under those circumstances until such time as he is clean.

You let him know that if he breaks those rules, he can no longer continue to live with you and will need to find his own place, which, subsequently, would imply finding his own form of transportation long term, which might, depending on his circumstances, require additional steps of things like reinstating a suspended driver's license and saving money. 

Enforcing the Boundaries

But there have to be consequences to him stealing your keys and taking your car out without your permission, and you cannot waiver on enabling behavior by giving up or letting him take the car when you don't feel like driving him.

If you are ready to help your loved one, reach out to our outpatient drug rehab in Spokane to learn more about family support and intervention strategies.