Helping out other people always makes you feel good, but when a loved one is struggling with addiction, it gets a little tricky. You can’t be too zealous in your efforts, otherwise your loved one will feel you are being controlling. At the same time, you can’t leave them alone to the point of ignoring them. It’s also important to not exhaust your resources.
Here are some ways you can reach out to a loved one who might be struggling with addiction.
- Plan things you enjoy together
Addiction can take a toll on families. The whole family unit may suffer from mental, physical and emotional deterioration due to active addiction. Some members may feel bitter by one’s choices and not want to reach out. Others may recognize the need for love, but can only give so much.
As such, it’s important to build familial bonds by doing things that you enjoy. Researchers have emphasized that social bonding is one of the critically important ways to help decrease the desire to abuse drugs. Do different things together, such as watching movies, going for walks, or playing games. As long as you can enjoy your time together, your loved one will feel supported and treated like a normal person.
- Listen without judgment
According to the New York Times, life history, social circumstances and many environmental factors leave some people predisposed to drug addiction. Learn to see the influences that cause drug addiction are sometimes outside of an individual’s control. This will help you understand where your loved one is coming from.
Try to listen to what they are saying without thinking about what you will say next. Don’t give advice unless they ask for it and try to empathize with their situation. Then, when you feel the time is right and they are more open to advice, you can give it, but do so lovingly and tactfully.
- Set up a workout routine
Working out together is another excellent way to develop quality downtime and rebuild social connections that might be altered by addiction. Research has shown that exercise could play a critically important role in preventing relapse, especially during the early stages of addiction recovery.
- Get spiritual guidance
Some researchers have stated that consistent prayer is a critical part of any long-term addiction recovery effort. Social support groups are also built from people you can rely on and see regularly. Local religious communities often offer many options for addiction recovery, whether it’s one-on-one counseling or group therapy. Connecting to your spiritual side can help you face some of the harder aspects of addiction.
- Face stress head on
Researchers from Penn State observed that recovering addicts who avoided dealing with stress were much more likely to experience strong cravings and relapse, compared to individuals that worked through their stress using a careful problem solving approach to manage stressful parts of their life. For some people, avoiding stress enables a passive attitude that often can make things worse in the long run. If you deal with the stress of addiction head on, you will find greater strength as you get through the difficult times.
- Establish boundaries
Sometimes a loved one will have a difficult time realizing that they are addicted. Set boundaries to help them see how their behavior is adversely affecting their own life or relationships. Sometimes, an intervention is appropriate because it gives explicit boundaries and guidelines that can help structure recovery efforts and accelerate progress.
Having the power to acknowledge and accept a struggle with addiction can bring about a dramatic change of attitude. An individual can open up to forces that can help them on the road to recovery. Work together on addiction. This can be a catalyst for acceptance and honest acknowledgement that yields a productive path forward.
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