When coping with an addicted family member, it’s easy to take the blame and feel like you’re the fall guy. However, it’s important to understand it’s not your fault. Regardless of the situation, keep the following tips in mind:
1. Learn as Much as You Can
Start by learning everything you can about addiction. Learn how it begins and what can trigger it. Learn the signs and symptoms of a relapse and how you can help.
If you’re the one with the addiction, talk freely with your loved ones about what you’re going through and be willing to get help when you need it. Listen to what your family has to say about your addiction and how it affects them.
Understand that relapse is very common when it comes to addiction, but you can find ways to safeguard against it. Don’t expect a relapse but do have a plan of action in the event there is a relapse. Think of an action plan as a seat belt. When you get into a car, you don’t expect to have an accident, but the seat belt is there in case you do.
Educate the rest of the family on addiction, and no matter what, remember that addiction is a disease. You wouldn’t put a gallon of ice cream in front of a diabetic and expect them to not want a spoon to eat it with. By the same token, a recovering addict can’t hang out with addicts who aren’t seeking recovery and expect not to relapse.
2. Don’t Play the Blame Game
When a relapse occurs, don’t waste time playing the blame game. Instead, focus on repairing the damages that may have occurred and getting help for your addicted loved one. Provide transportation to a trusted treatment facility. Focus on what needs to be done and avoid demeaning the person.
Addiction is a disease and the addict will always have to focus on recovery. Sometimes it will be minute-by-minute. Other times it will be month-by-month. Be patient and understanding without being a doormat.
3. Recognize Addiction for What It Is
Keep in mind that addiction affects everyone differently. What may be a problem for one person may not be a problem for another. Just as with any disease, there are different phases and stages. Keep this in mind as you work toward sobriety for your loved one.
If you’re the addict seeking recovery, focus on the benefits of staying clean and sober. Focus on how it can build the family and help you better function together as a unit. Focusing on the positive and not the negative will help keep everyone’s attention where it needs to be.
Expect ups and downs and prepare an emergency plan for dealing with these situations. Your loved one’s addiction didn’t happen overnight, and it’s not likely to go away overnight, either. The more positive you can be and the more you work together, the sooner you can get past this time in your life and move forward on a greener path to sobriety. Contact 12 Keys today for help taking the first step!