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Help or Harm: How Can I Support the Addict in my Life?

woman meets with addiction support group

Living with an addict or watching a loved struggle with addiction is one of the hardest things you’ll ever go through. The problems wrought by addiction don’t stop and start with the person who has a substance abuse issue and no doubt you’ve tried to help your loved one in every way possible. While it may be hard to hear, but sometimes your efforts to help can hurt the situation instead. Sometimes unconditional love blinds us to reality. The reality of this situation is that your loved one has made decisions and must deal with the consequences. Making excuses for their behavior and bailing them out of trouble keeps them from facing the consequences, which ultimately might keep them out of situations that would otherwise create the opportunity for them to confront their problem. In other words, we cannot fix our loved ones’ issues for them. Only the addict has the power to change his or her circumstances. This does not mean you can’t support or encourage their recovery, but first, they must acknowledge the need for help and seek it out. This can be an extremely difficult realization, particularly for those of us who like to “fix” things. The non-negotiable truth is that a substance abuser must have the desire and willingness to change. We can support them as they undergo the process but we can’t will it into being nor do it for them. To this end it is important to communicate to your loved one that you support him or her, but not their addiction. In other words, caring for the addict and taking care of the addict are two entirely different things. You can, however, help yourself. You may want to consider attending a support group such as Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Parents Anonymous or Families Anonymous. Groups such as these create space to share your ups and downs with others in similar circumstances and get the support and practical insight you need to live a healthy life no matter what stage of recovery your loved one is in. You can learn from others how they have been able to create and set boundaries with their loved ones in active addiction.

Arbor Behavioral Healthcare is here to help you throughout your recovery journey. We can help you be a healthier version of yourself. Call us today at 844-413-2690. We can’t wait to speak with you and help you today!