How families can help addicts
Family help for addiction
Many families have a difficult time when a loved one is an addict. And maybe your situation isn’t as extreme as helping a heroin addict, but alcohol and prescription drugs can be equally devastating. Still, family members need to stop enabling an addict and start to address the underlying problems.
Here are a few suggestions on how to help a loved one who is an addict. And we invite your questions or comments about the role of family members in addiction treatment at the end.
1. Identify three (3) reasons why the addict avoids addiction help
Many people overlook this suggestion for how families can help addicts. But it’s really simple: ask the person who is struggling with alcohol or drugs to list three (3) reasons why they will not get help. At first, they will say all kinds of things. Continue to engage the person and get the three (3) main reasons why they refuse to get help. It might take a couple of tries but listen to what they say. Once you get the answers, WRITE them down on a piece of paper. Note: Fear and frustration are huge factors for the person not getting help.
2. Determine solutions to those barriers
Once you get those three (3) reasons for avoiding addiction treatment, get a professional or an expert to find the solutions to those issues. Share solutions with the addict in question. If you can get rid of the person’s fears, you will increase the chances of the person getting help.
3. Talk to addict instead of talking at them
Nobody wants to be lectured. Be honest with your loved one and tell them that it will require some hard work on their part but that they can get better. If they don’t get help, they will suffer. The person who is struggling is scared and they need help in overcoming their fears and resistance to getting help. Open a conversation about fears . Remember that the key is to find out those fears, and then address possible solutions to those fears. Looking at the situation positively will help you get your message through. Learning how to set boundaries with an addict can also be very helpful.
4. Walk the addict through the consequences
Another way to convince an addict who is struggling with alcohol or drugs is to get someone who is an expert on addiction and have them do a one on one talk with this person. Someone who has been there – an expert on addiction – should explain to the addict what will happen if they do not get the help they need to get better. Basically, the expert should warn the person of the dire consequences of what will happen if they do not change their ways. The expert should be vivid as possible and hold nothing back. The goal is to convince the person to get help or they will suffer and eventually their life will slowly come to an end.
5. Use addiction specialists or professionals
Try to find a professional or even a former addict who has “Been There” to talk to the person or seek family therapy for alcoh0lism or addiction. This is similar to Step Four, however, instead of warning the person, these professionals can use their skills to talk and try to reason with your family member. These experts are usually trained and can use a proactive approach into trying to convince the addict to get help. The goal is to try to reason and talk with the person so they can get professional help.
6. Plan a family intervention
The formal way to get an addict into treatment and receive the help they need is to perform a family intervention. This is when family members and an interventionist get together with the addict to tell them how they love them and wish that they get help to get better. Each family member takes a turn and tells the person how special they are, how addiction has affected them and they urge the addict of the need to get help. The addict listens and hopefully they become convinced to get the help they need.
Families can help addicts
Hopefully, sooner or later, loving families will be able to get through to an addict. The key is to be persistent. Be very persistent. Also, it would help to have everybody pray for that person. Involving God in your current situation can sometimes produce unexpected results.
Photo credit: NYC.andre