4 Tips For Helping A Drug-Addicted Loved One

Seeing a loved one become addicted to illegal or dangerous drugs can be an utterly devastating experience for families. The thought of a son, husband, daughter or brother falling for the dream of quick, easy happiness through the use of certain narcotics can have disastrous consequences for both the addict and their family.

While families usually try their absolute best to help their loved one recover from a drug addiction, most do not know where to begin, and even further they cannot appreciate the length of time that an effective recovery, coupled with many setbacks and obstacles, can take.   

But just when pain and frustration leaves you thinking that there is nothing else you can do, do not despair.  There are always alternative ways for you to help your loved one overcome an addiction and lead a long, healthy life. 

Make sure they know you are always there

A person suffering from a drug addiction can often feel isolated and alone in their struggle.  Making sure they know they are not alone in their fight to recovery is perhaps the most important key for the recovery process.  Your loved one must know that you are always there, and are always willing to help them in any circumstance.  Whether that means paying them a visit, having a conversation on the phone to reminisce or discuss current events, or encouraging them to participate in their recovery by escorting them to treatments or support groups, your presence, alone, can really make or break the recovery process. 

Be firm, but do not judge

Helping a loved one who has a drug addiction can be very difficult.  Although we may love them unconditionally, being tolerant and understanding of their situation is always easier said than done.  Not showing resentment towards their lifestyle or actions is not always easy, but the opposite can have an even harsher effect: your loved one may lose even more self-esteem and further resort to drug use because they feel they have disappointed you.  Be sure that they understand why drugs are harmful by explaining things firmly, but avoid making remarks that might come off as judgemental or mean.

Involve them in your life

It is extremely important for a recovering addict to find enjoyment in some other aspect of their life.  You can help them accomplish this by inviting them to join you in more sociable activities: take them to a museum, invite them out to dinner with friends, or even join a book club or see a movie together (nothing drug related mind you!).  Eventually they will begin to find satisfaction in these new activities and become less and less focused on using drugs. 

Help them express their feelings

Having a face-to-face confrontation with your loved one about their addiction can be extremely challenging, even devastating, but the alternative can be even worse.  It is important for all of us, whether addict or support mentor, to express our thoughts and emotions.  Help your loved one to talk about their addiction, and why they felt the need to turn to drugs in the first place.  Once you establish this initial motive, and discover what (or who) has enabled them to continue down this path, you can begin the path to effective recovery.  Get to know their social circle and try to convince them to book an appointment with a therapist who specializes in drug-related issues.