Drug and alcohol addiction rarely impacts just one individual - the negative consequences almost always affect the entire family.
Families inevitably grapple with their own emotional journey when they watch a loved one deal with drug or alcohol addiction. But, they also play a key role in helping their loved one get the help they need to make recovery a reality. While it may be tempting to ignore signs of addiction for fear of isolating a loved one, family members are ultimately often the only ones who can help affected individuals confront the seriousness of their situation - and it's often the only thing that gets people to take the next step.
To conquer dependency, an addict must first admit to the problem and then seek help from professionals such as those at Brentwood Meadows Hospital. Some people can accomplish this themselves, while others may need an intervention to recognize the problem and accept the support that surrounds them in the Evansville area.
Help Them Take the First Step
How can you help your loved one on the road to lasting recovery? Here's a quick checklist to get you started.
1. Watch out for warning signs
Recognizing addiction is the first step toward intervention. Warning signs may include physical (bloodshot eyes, sudden weight loss or gain), behavioral (unexplained need for money, drop in school/work attendance), and psychological (drastic change in personality, erratic mood swings) signs.1
2. Educate yourself
Learn the facts about alcoholism and addiction. Obtain information through counseling or open AA meetings, or contact a reliable addiction treatment facility. It's important to understand the characteristics and dynamics of addiction so you can respond to its symptoms more effectively.
3. Don't accuse or judge
Remember, this is a difficult time for you and your loved one. Don't point fingers, make idle threats, or extract promises. People facing addiction are often unable to keep promises, not because they don't want to, but because they are powerless to follow up on their commitments.
4. Make home a safe haven
Provide a sober environment at home that minimizes triggers for using. Clear your home of all addictive substances. This might mean making personal sacrifices. However, making the home environment safe is critical to supporting your loved one.
5. Choose the right time
Don't try to talk to someone when he or she has been drinking, is under the influence of addictive substances, or is highly stressed. Find a time when they are sober and as untroubled as possible. For many people dealing with addiction, this is first thing in the morning.
6. Don't overanalyze
Do not provide excuses or cover up for the addict. Similarly, don't overanalyze and look for underlying causes. This will just lead to resentment and anger. This is a time to focus on wellness and recovery.
7. Provide support, but expect accountability
To help someone who is struggling with addiction, you must replace isolation with support and accountability. This is what interventions aim to do. Providing your loved ones with emotional support and accountability gives them something to lean on as they enter recovery.
8. Don't rescue
Do not shield the addict from the consequences of his or her problem - people are more likely to change if they suffer enough negative consequences2. Recovery confronts addicts with a variety of negative consequences, often providing the necessary motivation to initiate a serious recovery effort.
9. Have fun
Make sure that you both have time for fun. People use alcohol and drugs to relax, escape, and as a reward. The person dealing with addiction needs to find alternative ways to relax and escape. Partner with them as they look for a new hobby or a way to spend their weekends.
10. Don't financially support the addiction
Money fuels addiction. It is almost always given by friends and family with good intentions, but ends up enabling the addiction. When a family member who's dealing with addiction asks you for money, has you pay their bills or even lives in your home rent-free, you may be enabling their addiction.
The next step: getting help
If you're ready to take the next step in finding help for someone you love in the Evansville area, it's time to choose a treatment facility. Make sure to look for one that uses evidence-based treatment protocols and has programs that actively include families in the recovery process.
At Brentwood Meadows, along with offering evidence-based treatment protocols supervised by medical practitioners, we place families at the center of the restoration and healing process. Faith based programs are also offered.
Apart from encouraging visitation and phone calls, we offer opportunities to include families in the recovery process, including family conferences, family therapy, and family lunches on Brentwood Meadows' premises.
At every step of recovery, we make it a priority to communicate with patients and their families to ensure that we are living up to our commitments. Together, we know we can make a difference. Together, we can change lives.
1National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), https://ncadd.org/learn-about-drugs/signs-and-symptoms
2The Pathway To Addiction Recovery: A Guide for Families of Addicts, By Neil Paul, published by Diamond Books, 2015
Please call 812-858-7200 or fill out this form to start your road to recovery.
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