How to Be There for a Loved One Suffering from Addiction

If someone you love is undergoing addiction issues, it can be tough to know how to support them. There are many ways you can support your loved ones while also maintaining healthy boundaries. Below are some of the best ways to help support your loved one during their mental health and addiction recovery journey.

Set Hard Boundaries

Many family members have trust issues with their loved ones and describe being ‘at this for a while.’ If you feel like this, you might want to follow the lead of other family members who opt to use drug tests to ensure their loved ones stay clean. Drug tests are just one example of hard boundaries, and one of the only ways to truly know if an addict is truly clean. You might also set boundaries such as refusing to let your loved one live at home if they are actively using or refusing to fund their addiction. While these may be difficult decisions, they help you feel in control and prevent you from enabling your loved one.

See Mental Health Help For Yourself

Family members need to get help for their mental health if the stress of addiction is becoming too much to bear. Mental health help is especially crucial for family members that have undergone a recent divorce. For instance, most couples that divorce do so after eight years. You might have divorced your loved one due to their addiction issues yet still struggle to feel happy after the divorce. Getting help for your mental health issues allows you to prioritize your own emotional and mental well-being and prevents you from forming a co-dependent body with a loved one.

Some of the best ways to get mental health help include talking to a therapist, visiting a counseling center, or engaging in family therapy. Taking medication is another good way to feel better and reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety. In addition, remember that it’s okay to walk away from your loved one if they are in the middle of recovery. Walking away does not mean you are weak or cold-hearted; it simply means you need time and space for yourself.

Look for Signs of Worsening Addiction

Your loved one might claim that they are recovering from addiction. Family members must be on the lookout for worsening addiction, even if your loved one is attending outpatient treatment or engaging in mental health therapy. An estimated 23% of people that develop heroin addiction also go on to develop opioid addiction. Some signs of worsening addiction you might notice include increased loss of interest in friends, family, or careers. Your loved one might also stop attending treatment altogether. Remind your loved one of the importance of continued treatment. Make a plan if your loved one relapses, such as enrolling them in inpatient treatment again.

Respect Your Loved One’s Privacy

Addiction usually has underlying causes, such as mental health issues, past trauma, or even medical illnesses like pain. During the recovery process, your loved one will need to work through these issues before they achieve sobriety. It’s important to give your loved ones the space they need during treatment. Your loved one might not open up to you at first, or tell you about the specifics behind their treatment. Know that your family member will open up to you eventually, but it will take time. Never ask your loved one’s counselor about private discussions, as this can severely damage the trust between you and your loved one.

These tips above can help you stay safe and protect your own mental health during your loved one’s sobriety journey. Follow these tips to encourage your loved one to get sober and stay sober while promoting healthy boundaries.