An addiction is to the detriment of not just the addict but also the addict’s family. Coping with an addict’s lifestyle can be physically exhausting and emotionally draining, not to mention the financial cost of supporting an addict.
As a family member, you can take the following steps to help an addict –
- Learn about the particular addiction and the de-addiction process.
- Be supportive. Reserve judgement.
- Try to provide a pleasant setting at home, remove all triggers for drug use.
- Accompany the addict to meetings by ex-addicts.
- Work to improving your lives. Reflect on what led to the addiction. Alter your lifestyle to remove those aspects that led to liquor or drug abuse.
- Teach the addict about other avenues for fun. Reward the addict for sobriety and staying drug free. Bored teens take to drugs for pleasure and fun. Introduce the addict to healthy fun.
- Expose the addict to the consequences of addiction, educate the addict about the disaster that awaits.
- Don’t give the addict money. Instead hand over the items needed – food, groceries, books, etc.
- Encourage the addict to realize his or her potential to be a good student, singer, dancer, web designer…anything.
- Treat the addiction with utmost urgency. The sooner it is kicked, the better are the chances of avoiding a relapse and staying sober for life.
Take care of yourself. Don’t be harsh on yourself if you know that you’re not to blame in any way. Work hard to save the addict, but ensure that the addict too makes an honest effort. Get professional help. You can do only so much as a caretaker. Do not try to reason with the addict when the person is under the influence of the abused substance. It won’t make a difference to the addict. You will end up distressed. Do not make the addict feel guilty. Accusations and blames will only exacerbate the situation for the family.