How to Support a Loved One in Addiction

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When dealing with a loved one with addiction, we often want to do everything we possibly can to help them. In our eyes, helping is often revolved around what we want from our loved one instead of determining what our loved one wants from the situation.

What to Do and What Not to Do

While we often want to do the right thing, sometimes the words we say and actions we take to do not have the same impact as our intent. Here is a simple list of what you should and should not do when talking to a loved one who is facing addiction.

  • Do listen. If your loved one does open up to you about their addiction, make sure that you do listen. Take advantage of the opportunity to hear what they have to say, and what they are feeling.
  • Do not pry. Sure, you might want to immediately suggest addiction treatment. Of course, you are concerned. If your loved one is not telling you all the details or even shutting down the topic, do not bombard them with questions or push them to tell you everything. Give it time.
  • Do be patient. It is not easy to be vulnerable about your addiction. Be present and be patient. The right time will come.
  • Do not force them to admit their addiction or force them to seek addiction treatment. You cannot force your loved one to get treatment or to go to rehab. You cannot make someone believe that they have an addiction.

Lecturing versus Leading

If the opportunity does arise to talk to your loved one, do not lecture them. Do not tell them that you understand what they are going through. Do not be judgmental or angry. Instead, lead them to what they should do by asking questions. Asking questions like the following will help your loved one to better understand their own feelings and what they want to do to come to terms with their addiction.

  • How are you feeling? Showing that you care can really help your loved one not feel so alone in their addiction. This question could also lead them to say what is going on if they are feeling really overwhelmed.
  • Do you need anything? Someone with an addiction might tell you that they need money or need to get away. Others might tell you that they need help. Some might not say anything. It is important to ask, just to show that you are there for them.
  • Is there anything I can do to help you? This question is especially helpful when you sense that your loved one is feeling some sort of negative emotion.
  • Would you like to go to dinner? This can be a way of telling your loved one that you want to spend time with them, but you also can show them that there are ways to enjoy life without their addiction. Take them away from their vices and see how they react.

When to Pursue Addiction Treatment

Depending on the type of addiction, there are a variety of symptoms that could be signs of addiction.

  • Hyper-stimulation
  • Intense euphoria
  • Decreased appetite
  • Anxiety and paranoia
  • Aggressive, paranoid behavior
  • Depression
  • Drink more, or longer, than planned
  • Have tried to cut back or stop more than once and couldn’t
  • Spend a lot of time drinking, being sick, or hungover
  • Want alcohol so badly they can’t think of anything else
  • Have problems with work, school, or family because of habit
  • Keep drinking even though it has caused problems for relationships
  • Quit or cut back on other activities that were important in order to drink

If you have any questions or would like additional resources for addiction, please contact us at 90210 Recovery in Beverly Hills to find help for you and your loved one.