Key Indicators Relating to Substance Use Issues
If you are still unsure whether your loved one has a substance use issue, there are several indicators to be aware of. There are many common signs that your loved one has an addiction, these include physical and behavioral changes. You may notice your loved one spends more time alone than usual, they may have new financial issues or be seeking money more often. Appearance changes are also a good indicator. An addict may neglect themself and stop showering, brushing their teeth or washing their clothes. They may smell like alcohol or other substances often and you may notice changes in their skin and eyes. Continued substance use can affect a person’s complexion, dilate pupils or make the eyes appear bloodshot.
If you notice any of the above signs, then your concerns may be valid and a discussion about addiction may be necessary.
Tough Conversations about Substance Use
Keeping the communication lines open with your loved one during this troublesome time is imperative. Handling each conversation delicately is also necessary in order to ensure that they continue to see you as a helpful resource.
After you have decided to confront your loved one about their substance use issue and want to attempt to convince them to get help, there are a few ways to approach the conversation. Here are several helpful talking points for consideration.
- Let your loved one know they have been acting differently lately and ask if everything is okay
- Make them aware that you have noticed their drug and alcohol use and let them know you are worried about them
- Ask your loved one if they think they could go 24 hours without substance use
- Let them know you are there to support them and will do anything to help improve the situation (except for facilitating substance use of course)
- Reinforce the fact that your loved one can regain control of their life through treatment
- Admit that you might not know what your loved one is going through, but reiterate that you are available to be there for any type of positive support
You should always use your best judgment when approaching the subject. This should not be a forceful or threatening conversation as that can be completely counterproductive. Also, make sure to have this conversation with your loved one when they are sober and clear-headed.
A family intervention can be a powerful way to encourage an addict to understand their issues. Remember that your loved one may be in denial about their addiction. Even if your loved one understands they have a substance use issue, they may not truly realize the impact it has on their family. Bringing family members together to discuss their concerns with your loved one can help them recognize the need for treatment.
Although a family intervention can be beneficial, it isn’t always the best option. Remember that bringing your family together may cause your loved one to feel overwhelmed or anger them. It’s usually best to enlist the help of a professional that can ensure the intervention goes as smoothly as possible. Professionals have experience in talking to addicts and understand the challenges they face. A professional can also discuss treatment options and be an impartial party, which can help naturally mediate the discussion.
Strategies to Help Your Loved One
There are a few strategies that you can use to assist your loved one to get the help they need.
- Investigate professional help: Reach out to a medical professional, whether it is a therapist or a general practitioner. Either will likely have experience dealing with or treating someone with a substance use problem. At a minimum, encouraging that your loved one gets some type of evaluation is a helpful start.
- Be encouraging: Let your loved one know you believe they can get clean. Build them up, instead of calling out their missteps.
- Engage local support: Encourage your loved one to take part in some type of support group. Depending upon the substance they have issues with, help them investigate meeting times and locations for groups like Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous.
- Stay connected with your loved one through treatment: Assuming your loved one commits to recovery, ensure that they are making the lifestyle changes that are recommended through their treatment program. Continue to follow up with them to show that you care and that you are on the journey along with them.
Loving an addict can be extremely challenging, especially when they are resistant to overcoming their addiction. However, there are several productive ways in which you can help guide them to a path of sobriety.
Family therapy can also be a very useful way to work on your loved one’s addiction while also giving the family the support they need. It is likely that your loved one’s addiction has had a substantial effect on many aspects of your life. It is often helpful for the relationship between the addict and yourself to undertake a form of treatment together. There will probably be a lot of healing needed on both sides, so working towards this together can make the process simpler.
There are several approaches to family therapy, this is because everyone has different needs. Some of these include:
Addiction can cause a family to become dysfunctional. Family restructuring focuses on changing the dynamics of the family and encourages changes that can lead to a healthier relationship between all parties.
Many family members of addicts let go of the idea of being a source of support when it comes to recovery. This is because their previous efforts may have been unsuccessful. Family engagement is about highlighting the importance of family support to successful recovery.
Family Behavior Change
Addiction can lead to unhealthy behaviors between loved ones. To ensure all parties are benefitting from the addict’s recovery, it’s important to look at any behavior that may be detrimental to recovery success. This essentially means changing the environment that once allowed the addiction to take place, setting boundaries and opening communication.
What To Avoid if You Want Your Loved One To Accept Treatment
If you have tried several things to get your loved one into treatment with no success, then you may go to desperate measures. Although it can be incredibly frustrating when an addict refuses help and support, remember that this is fairly common. Many addicts refuse help before they accept they need it. Try to keep your anger and frustration away from your decision-making. There are many things you should avoid doing to increase the success of recovery in the future:
- Avoid using substances in front of them yourself.
- Don’t take responsibility for their problems or actions.
- Don’t make excuses for them.
- Don’t suggest recovery to them when they are under the influence of substances.
- Don’t hide their substances in an attempt to stop them from using them.
Learn About Addiction
Addiction is horrible for everyone involved, but it can help to understand the complexities that surround it. If you educate yourself about substance withdrawal, the effects substances have on the body and the behaviors that often come with addiction, it can be easier to show empathy. Remember that your loved one feels a lack of control towards their addiction, it consumes them in every way. Look into the specific issues that your loved one faces daily by learning about the substance they use. Having a better understanding can make you feel more prepared for the future and know what to expect in the recovery process.
Establish Your Role in Your Loved One’s Addiction
It’s difficult to accept that you may be part of the problem. However, recognizing the role you play is key to your loved one’s recovery. Do you make excuses for their behavior? Do you give or lend them money regularly? Think about whether you have been helping them fund their addiction or nurture an environment that allows their addiction to thrive. Although it can be scary to take these things away from an addict and worry about what may happen to them, you do yourself (or them) no favors by being an enabler. If you take away funding (or anything else) that is enabling your loved one, be sure to clarify that you will offer support through their recovery if they choose to take it.
You may need to reframe your role and go from an enabler to a supporter. A supporter ensures they have boundaries in place and commits to supporting their loved one through their recovery journey while also protecting themself. A supporter positively encourages their loved one to accept treatment without enabling their addiction.
It’s tempting to use guilt as a reason for your loved one to seek treatment, but it’s important to avoid this at all costs. You should never try to guilt-trip your loved one into treatment. Avoid using any phrases that may make them feel guilty and instead, encourage them positively. Although you may have a lot of emotions linked to their addiction, it’s important to leave these for discussion at a later date. You want your loved one to see you as a positive figure that offers support, not the enemy.
You should also be positive to yourself. Never blame yourself for their addiction, try to let go of any guilt you have for enabling them if this is something you’ve done in the past. Many people enable addiction without meaning to, it’s important to remember this. The fact that you are now striving to get your loved one the help they need is what’s important.
Taking The Next Step
Reaching out to a treatment center is the next step to recovery. Whether you are looking to start family therapy or need advice about what to do next, you can always contact us for support and guidance. We work with addicts and their families to transform their lives and rebuild relationships with happy lives free from substance use. Getting a loved one to accept treatment can be emotionally draining and extremely challenging. However, remember that they’ll thank you for it in the end and be proud of yourself for identifying the issues and looking to do something about them.
Email or call us today – (855) 928-1987 – and take the next step towards getting your loved one into rehab.