Family members suffer when a loved one struggles with addiction. Although they are not physically affected by the illness, they do suffer mental and emotional issues and it can place an enormous strain on family relationships. It is hard to watch a loved one struggle in this way, and family members will all react in different ways.
Some will want to take over and will believe that they can ‘fix’ their loved one. They are of the opinion that all that is needed is to make him or her see sense and that the affected individual will then stop drinking or taking drugs. If only it were that simple. Sadly, many addicts are unable or unwilling to stop, and no amount of pleading or begging will change that.
Addicts are skilled at making others believe what they want them to and will tell their loved ones whatever it is they want to hear if it means the addict can continue with his or her destructive behaviour. Family members are often left hurt and disappointed with their loved one’s actions. After a while, they will find it hard to believe anything their addicted loved one tells them.
If a Loved One Recognises the Problem
In the beginning, most addicts will not be able to see that they have a problem. As addiction is a progressive illness, he or she will slowly get worse; it may take some time before the addiction is something this person can see as being a destructive force.
The ideal situation for family members and friends is that their addicted loved one will get to a point where they can see that there is a problem and will reach out for help. Before this can happen, the affected individual will have to firstly recognise that the addiction is out of control.
You may have heard the expression ‘rock bottom’ in relation to addiction. This is typically the point at which an addicted person realises that his or her addiction has become a problem and that a change needs to be made. It could be triggered by a health issue or an ultimatum given by a loved one. Either of these situations can make an addicted person see that his or her actions are causing negative consequences for themselves and those around them.
Helping with Treatment
However, it is not enough for the addicted person to simply agree and promise to stop. He or she must take steps towards rectifying the situation. This is where you can help — you can encourage your loved one to get help and do whatever it takes to make this possible.
This could mean helping out by taking care of children or pets so that the addicted person can enter a rehabilitation treatment centre if necessary. You could also help by taking the individual to a doctor or counsellor for appointments.
If you really want to help, contact us here at Middlegate today. We offer a free service to those dealing with addiction as well as to their family members. We have a team of expert advisors ready to take your call and they will be able to offer you helpful advice on taking the next steps.
As a referral service, we do not provide treatment for addiction. However, we work with a wide range of organisations in both the public and private sectors and we will be able to make a referral to a suitable treatment provider based on the needs and circumstances of each client. We will carry out a full assessment of the situation before offering advice and information on the treatments available and how to access them.
If you would like more information on our free and confidential service, contact us today.
This article originally published at Middlegate Blog here