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Five Steps for Helping a Loved One Struggling with Addiction

As prescription opioid painkillers continue to ravage the United States, addiction has become more prevalent than ever. While there may not be more people addicted to drugs than there were in the past, it is much more visible within the culture. No longer is addiction perceived as an inner-city problem. Now the narrative has made its way to the suburbs. With millions of people struggling with some form of addiction, it has touched most of our lives in some way or another. When you have a loved one who is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be difficult to know what to do. Below are five steps for helping a loved one who is struggling with an addiction.

Raise Your Concerns

The first thing you should do is raise your concerns to your loved one. Begin by saying that you are concerned with their well-being and health. Ask them honest questions about what they’ve been doing, what they are using, and how often they are doing it. Everyone is different. They can handle things at their own pace and will provide a certain amount of honesty. While it is completely necessary to be sensitive to the person about it all, telling them that you care and are worried about them is the first step to helping. There are few things you can do, but this is one of them.

Talk to Other Friends & Family

Depending on your relationship with the person in question, you should include other family members and friends to talk to them about the situation. After you have raised your concerns to the individual, you should have a clearer vision about the way the person views their relationship with drugs and alcohol. If they told you not to worry, that they’re fine, and don’t need any help, you can start talking to others when you believe they are truly in need of help. However, it’s a good idea to be careful with who you talk to and how you talk to them. Some might dismiss your concerns while others might take them straight to the person you’re worried about. Start with trusted confidantes and get the conversation started without starting a problem.

Time for an Intervention

When your loved one’s addiction is blatantly apparent and the people who love them are on board that they need help, the third step is to set up an intervention. Interventions can be successful but they can also go very poorly. That’s why it’s imperative for you to word what you say carefully and avoid attacking the person.

Again, depending on your relationship with the person, you should suggest treatment and offer an ultimatum if need be. You can be clear about your own personal feelings and what boundaries you will need to put up if they don’t accept that they have a problem and admit they need help to recover. Talk about yourself and how you will move forward instead of accusing them of something. Once you have gathered the people who love them and make it clear that you believe they need professional addiction help, the ball will be in their court. They might get angry, but they might begin to accept it.

Help Them Enter Treatment

After the intervention, you will be able to tell where the person is at. If they are accepting that they have a problem and admit that they need help in the form of addiction treatment, you can help them enter a drug rehab facility. Whether you’re looking for rehab for prescription painkillers in Washington or alcohol rehab in Rhode Island, you should be able to find a rehab facility in your area. Do what you find necessary to help enter the treatment, but once they have begun their path you can only be supportive.

Let Go & Move On

Whether the person admits that they need professional addiction treatment or not, at this point you should let go and move on with your life. This doesn’t mean that you can’t be supportive, but any further effort into helping them—giving them money or a place to stay for example—is enabling. At this point the best thing you can do for them is to allow them to find their own way. Sometimes it takes a person who is addicted to drugs and alcohol a long time before they hit rock bottom.

When you have a friend or a member of your family struggling with addiction to alcohol or drugs, you feel hopeless. There are only so many things you can do. Beyond these five steps, there is not much else. Show your support. Be kind and compassionate. Avoid attacking the person and show that you love them. Then, the rest is up to them.

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