Help a Loved One Overcome Addiction
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By: Harmony Staff

Clinically Reviewed by Dr. Deja Gilbert, PhD, LMHC, LPC

Updated on 03/28/2022

Do you know someone who abuses alcohol or drugs? If so, they could have an addiction. It can be extremely difficult to handle someone’s behaviors and lifestyle when they struggle with addiction. You may want to scream at them, escape their presence, cry all the time and you may have confusion and anxiety, too. There are a range of feelings and thoughts that are likely going through your mind if you know someone who has an addiction.

However, one thing is for certain, you must not be too hard on yourself. Take time to care for yourself and your life. Then, you can step up and help a loved one overcome addiction. Here at Riverwalk Recovery, we want to discuss with you how you can help someone to get clean and sober and into recovery.

Different Situations

Before diving into how you can help someone who has an addiction, it is important to know there are different situations when it comes to addictions. For example, your loved one might be abusing drugs because they struggle with a chronic pain condition or a mental health disorder. If that is the case, if they can get treatment for those issues, it may help them to get clean and sober and stay that way. Talking to your loved one about the situation they are in may be a good choice. However, it is important not to talk to them when they are drunk, high or hungover. If you talk to your loved one and they are ready to get addiction treatment, there are plenty of addiction resources that could get them started in recovery.

Alcohol Use Disorder Symptoms

If you know someone that has a substance use disorder, they are going to display some symptoms of that disorder. Learning more about the most common alcohol use disorder symptoms can help you recognize their addiction, so you can best help them to overcome it.

Alcohol use disorder symptomps

Relationships and Codependency

Do you have a loved one that is abusing drugs or alcohol? If so, you may find yourself far within a codependent relationship. It may happen so quickly that you don’t even realize it is going on. However, with their substance abuse and the financial, physical and emotional toll it takes on you and your relationship with them, it is no wonder why codependency happens. You may even find that you are interacting with your loved one in a way that you said you never would. Don’t be ashamed of this as you are not alone.

Codependency is a cycle of interactions in which you try helping someone manage their struggles in life, often with addiction or mental health issues. However, when doing this, you are also enabling them to keep up with their negative, unhealthy behaviors. One example of codependency is when you try rescuing a person from their addiction by telling them you will buy alcohol if they agree to only drink at home, but not out in public.

Codependency can also be defined as taking over more responsibilities than you should be to make up for what the other person isn’t doing. Do you have a loved one that is under-performing in areas of their life like work, at home or with their children? Do you try stepping up to take care of these responsibilities for them? If this is the case, you are in a codependent relationship. Another example of this would be that you make excuses for why they aren’t taking care of their responsibilities.

Millions of people are, unfortunately, in a codependent relationship. However, to outsiders, it might seem confusing why anyone would choose to be in this type of relationship when they could just walk away. The truth of the matter is that walking away from a codependent relationship or even changing the way you do things in that relationship can be much more complicated than it seems. That is why many people need help from trained mental health professionals, so they can break these negative cycles and help their loved one in better ways.

How to End Codependent Aspects of a Relationship with an Addict

After reading this guide up until this point, do you find that you are – in fact – in a codependent relationship? Do you want to start learning how to break free from the codependent cycles? If so, the rest of this guide is going to show you how to do that and how to best help the addict in your life at the same time.

If you have a relationship with someone that has mental health or addiction issues and you are lying for or making excuses for them, trying to control what and how much they use, the emotional toll it is taking on you is probably more than you can bear at this point. It doesn’t have to stay this way. Codependency generally comes from a place of protection, love and care. However, it is vital to remember that you aren’t responsible for this person’s addiction or mental health condition. It is not your fault. Covering up and lying for them is only going to make things worse. The negative consequences for you and them will keep building up until there is a mountain of lies and messes that can’t be cleaned up.

If you are ready to end the codependent aspects of this relationship with your loved one these things should help:

  • Let them take responsibility for the messes they make (no matter how difficult that might be to watch happen)
  • Don’t feel guilt for standing up for your needs
  • Stop feeling guilty for their substance abuse (it isn’t your fault)
  • Let them take care of their own responsibilities instead of doing things for them
  • Let them know that you have concerns about their addiction and you need them to get help
  • Commit to fulfilling your own needs and taking care of yourself before helping them overcome their addiction

If you start doing these things, even little by little, it will make a difference. Even if your loved one isn’t quite ready to see they have an addiction and need help, these tips can, at the very least, help you to stand up for yourself and start feeling better.

How to Find the Help the Addict in My Life Needs

The #1 most important and first thing to remember is that you can’t make the addict in your life get help. If they don’t see and admit to their addiction, all the help you try to give isn’t going to be worth a thing to them. However, if your loved one is willing to accept responsibility for themselves and admit they need help, there are ways that you can find them the treatment they need. There are also ways that you can get help to end your codependent behaviors which, in turn, will help the addict in your life as these behaviors aren’t truly beneficial to their well-being either.

Help for addicts and codedependency

Taking Things One Day at a Time Makes a Big Impact – Contact us Here at Riverwalk Recovery to Get Help Overcoming an Addiction Today

How to Let Go of or Leave Someone with a Substance Use Disorder

Sometimes, the best way to help someone overcome an addiction or see that they need help is to let them go. You can’t hold on so tight to someone that doesn’t want to get help. Does this mean you have to leave them? Not necessarily, although that is a possibility, if that is the route you would like to go.

There is a saying that says let go of what you cannot control. This is so fitting when you are in a relationship with an addict because you can’t control their addiction. It is a disease and they will need to get treatment for the addiction in order to overcome it. It doesn’t just go away by hoping that it will or by loving them more.

If you do feel that you need to leave the addict in your life, it will require working on your codependent behaviors. The Codependents Anonymous group is a great start to help you work through these behaviors. Who knows, maybe leaving or stepping away from the addict for a bit may motivate them to see that they do, in fact, need help to overcome their addiction before they lose the relationships with their loved ones for good.

If your loved one does have a substance use disorder, it may be best to start with an intervention. There are even trained intervention specialists who can help to make this process go a little bit easier and smoother.

Tips to Improve the Intervention

If you are planning to hold an intervention, there are many tips that can help to improve the chances of it going successfully. Some of these tips include:

  • Hiring an intervention specialist
  • Be sure to hold the intervention at a neutral location
  • Preplan what you and the others in the meeting are going to say
  • Do your best to keep your emotions in check
  • State the facts and not opinions
  • Be ready to give an ultimatum (one that you will stick to if they don’t get the help they need)
  • Have treatment resources ready and a treatment program lined up in case they admit they have an addiction and need help

If you need help getting treatment resources or a treatment program ready, don’t hesitate to contact us here at Riverwalk Recovery. We have helped many people get their loved ones into addiction treatment. We would like to help you with this, as well.

What If We Both Have an Addiction

There are times when multiple people within a family unit have an addiction or substance use disorder. Sometimes, two spouses both have an addiction. Other times, it may be siblings, parents, cousins, etc. No matter what the relationship might be, if you and your loved one have an addiction, there are addiction resources and treatment programs available for both of you.

It is important to separate yourself and your recovery from your loved one, however. The reason for this is because if your loved one isn’t ready to admit they have an addiction and need help, that doesn’t mean that you can’t get the treatment you need.

Frequently Asked Questions About Loved Ones with Addictions

There are some questions that are asked of our team here at Riverwalk Recovery quite frequently that we would like to address.

Can I visit my loved ones when they enter the rehab facility?

Most of the time, during the beginning of the treatment program, we have the clients focus on their recovery (which means no visitors). However, after the detox process and the first part of the recovery, we often recommend that family members and other loved ones visit during visiting hours or attend family therapy, as well.

Can I make someone go to rehab?

Most of the time, unless someone is forced to enter a rehab program by the court, you can’t make them go to rehab. Unfortunately, addiction is a disease and until the person admits they need help, sometimes you have to let them realize it on their own.

Helping a Loved One Who is Struggling with an Addiction

As you have read above, there are different ways that you can help someone who is struggling with an addiction. After you hold an intervention and let your loved one know they need help, oftentimes, one of the best options is to let go of control and let your loved one realize they need treatment.

It is important that you set boundaries and remember to take care of yourself first. Addiction is a disease and it isn’t anything you can change. You can’t make the addiction go away or just love the person more to make the addiction disappear. If your loved one has an addiction, they need treatment which might include therapy, meditation, medication-assisted treatments and more.

If your loved one is ready to overcome addiction or you need more information on how to help them do this, contact us today here at Riverwalk Recovery. Our team would like to help you and your loved one get treatment or work through addiction-related issues.

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