Living with addiction is difficult, and every individual approaches the reality of it in different ways. Some people know they need to find help but are reluctant to do so, and some even deny that there is a problem altogether. This makes recovery difficult not only for them but for those that love them as well. That’s why their support system must find them the help they need in the most loving way possible.
For anybody struggling with their problems, the truth can be an unfamiliar friend. They may have cut ties with that friend altogether. In these cases, their best shot at moving on to a life of stability are their loved ones.
As a family member or loved one, it takes an insurmountable amount of effort to conquer the hill that is convincing somebody that they need help. This could be because they’re denying that there is even a problem, to begin with, or because they simply fear the concept of rehab. Either way, there’s no denying that this is a difficult task to accomplish.
To convince somebody that they need help, a person must first make up in their minds that the goal is not to deceive that person into thinking they care. That is manipulative behavior that will only be a set-back for those that need help.
These people need love – not fake love, but actual love. This begins with understanding somebody first. That is the first of five ways to help somebody recover before rehab even begins
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To understand somebody, especially one that is dealing with something as difficult as addiction, one must first listen to and validate them. They don’t need to be responded to; chances they are hearing enough critique from their heads. However, even if they aren’t aware that their substance abuse is an issue, they still deserve to be understood.
Addiction is simply a symptom of a greater cause. That being said, it’s better to first identify the core of the disease rather than to try and alleviate the effects of it. If this can be done, the disease can be cured. To do this, one must first sit down with the one directly affected and hear their hearts.
In most cases of addiction, an addict’s disorder is the result of a more significant problem such as depression, anxiety, or even peer pressure. In this case, it’s better to dissect the side-effect that is an addiction and find the root cause. When this is done, the person involved will realize how much you truly care for them. Caring enough to listen is often all they need to be convinced of. Most often, people just want to be heard.
Opening up to somebody, especially a loved one, can be very difficult. This is due in large part to the vulnerability of it all. These people need to know that you can be trusted. This is why it’s important to communicate to them that you understand without explicitly saying, “I understand.”
Some ways to communicate effectively include the following:
- Asking Questions: Unless somebody is attending a convention, the last thing they want is for somebody to give long-winded, unsolicited advice. This is why it’s imperative to talk as little as possible. To do this, ask open-ended questions. This gives them a chance to process their thoughts externally.
- Comprehension: Actively comprehending what somebody is saying is key to communicating effectively. If you do this, you’ll be able to understand responses and ask even deeper questions, which will allow someone to process their thoughts even further. This will allow you to understand a person completely.
- Repetition: It is imperative that whenever somebody makes a statement or answers a question, you repeat what you think you heard back to them. This allows them to confirm whatever it is that they’ve said and also shows them that you are listening to and affirming them.
- Body language: Communicating understanding with your body is a significant part of active listening. It’s just as important as any of the skills mentioned above. Maintaining eye contact and keeping a relaxed posture in a circumstance such as this will help somebody feel as though they are free to communicate openly and honestly.
Communication is difficult to perfect. This is likely because humans naturally have a hard time doing it well; it’s in our nature. That’s not to say that it’s a skill that can’t be mastered, it’s just one of the more difficult skills to learn. However, if you hold to these principles of effective communication, you can be sure that you’ve displayed your understanding effectively, and thus gained the trust of whomever you’re speaking with.
2. Talk to Somebody
After talking with someone struggling with addiction, it is imperative that you seek wise counsel, or even just somebody willing to listen to you. There will likely be a lot of information going through your head, and it may even feel as though the world is crashing in around you. In times of crisis such as these, it is perfectly normal to feel that way.
The reality of substance abuse is that it doesn’t only affect those addicted; it affects everybody that surrounds them as well. Addiction is such a messy disease, that it stains the entire fabric of a person’s social circle, not just the sleeve of the individual.
Admitting that you need somebody to understand you is just as important as understanding those struggling with addiction. Processing your own emotions will enable you to help those affected by substance abuse; chances are, you also need to be validated and affirmed. Often, watching a loved one struggle with substance abuse can open up a vacuum for depression or anxiety to form. This is why it is important to exercise self-care before you try and care for somebody else.
3. Do Your Research
When trying to lead someone away from the harmful nature of substance abuse, one must educate themselves on recovery properly. Before action is taken, understanding the specific needs of the individual is necessary to close the gap between addiction and recovery. Knowing the difference between inpatient care, outpatient care, detox treatment, and general therapy is imperative in addressing the needs of a specific individual.
Inpatient care is designed to treat more serious cases of addiction. This particular treatment, lasting anywhere from 28 days to six months, allows a patient to live at a care facility as well as receive 24/7 access to medical personnel if they should need it.
Outpatient care is another recovery method lasting anywhere from one month to over three years and is specifically designed to treat mild addiction. Patients in an outpatient program can recover with minimal disruption to the flow of their daily lives. Patients have access to psychiatrists and therapists anywhere from 10-12 hours weekly.
Detox from drugs and alcohol could include, but is not limited to the following symptoms:
- Nausea or vomiting
Cutting off somebody who struggles with addiction can lead to serious withdrawal. Drug cravings are incredibly difficult to conquer and can have a detrimental impact on an addict. Medically assisted treatment (MAT) uses medicine to comfortably wean a patient off of drugs or alcohol.
Therapy approaches addiction treatment by helping patients evaluate their experience with drug or alcohol abuse, and help shape their attitudes towards it in a new direction. It also aims to improve the way they cope with and control their drug cravings by providing them with skills that encourage self-control.
4. Schedule an Intervention
Interventions are imperative to the progress of addiction treatment. This is because it brings the issue to a loved one’s attention from multiple points of view. A skilled professional must be also involved so that they can help mediate the conversation. The overall goal is to communicate the effect their addiction is having on themselves and those surrounding them.
Sometimes the reality of substance abuse can be frightening, and it can even seem hopeless. Most often, people ultimately want their loved one’s mind to be changed immediately, but this should never be the goal (at least initially). It is imperative that family or loved one’s share how they’ve been affected by the person’s addiction.
5. Lead With Compassion
Addiction is a disease; there’s no question about it. As such, it should be treated with care and compassion. The ugly reality of it all is that somebody has arrived at this place as a result of ill-informed decisions. For whatever reason, they believe that drug use could help a larger issue they’re dealing with.
Those struggling with addiction already want help, they’re just looking in the wrong place. It is imperative that you understand this because once that becomes clear, you can then guide them towards receiving the right help. Your compassion will show them that you truly care and want them to recover from whatever is causing them to abuse drugs or alcohol.
People want to know that others care for them. With some, it’s not as evident, but everybody wants to know that they’re not alone. Practicing compassion and grace with those who wrestle with substance abuse could mean the difference between avoiding help and pursuing it.
Granite Can Help
If a loved one is struggling with addiction, it could be time to practice the five steps mentioned above. Throughout the recovery process, Granite’s philosophy is to help those who struggle with substance abuse pursue a life of purpose and stability with the help of our trained professionals. If you are interested in what Granite can offer for your recovery needs, contact us here, or call us at (877) 338-6287.