Long-term drug and alcohol use causes harmful and serious problems, physically, mentally, and financially. Excessive drug and alcohol use damages major body organs, such as the liver, heart, stomach, brain, and kidneys. The damage from drug and alcohol use can result in lifelong health complications and even death. Alcohol causes mental health problems such as anxiety and depression and contributes to cancer and neurological impairment.
When a loved one is addicted to drugs and alcohol, everyone in the family endures the pain of the addiction. Trust is broken and family members experience emotional pain as their loved one’s life goes in a different direction. Often the addicted loved one limits his or her time around family, and result in long-term absences from family gatherings, holidays, or special family events.
There are ways to cope when a family member suffers from a substance dependency. Learning that addiction is a disease is a good way to start. Here are 5 strategies to cope when your loved one has an addiction:
- Learn more about drug and alcohol addiction. Attend AA or NARANON meetings and listen to what others say about their experiences with addiction. Get to meet people who struggle with a drug and alcohol addiction. Join a forum online or a group on social media that relate to drug and alcohol addiction. Ask questions and get advice or suggestions from others coping with a loved one’s addiction.
- Stay positive and supportive. Encourage your loved one to get help, and offer supportive and positive comments. Understand an individual with an addiction might already have issues with guilt or self-esteem. Using shameful words or a negative tone could contribute to your loved one continuing his or her drug and alcohol use.
- Set boundaries. Setting boundaries let your loved one to know what is off limits and teaches him or her to respect your rules and space. Plan in advance what to expect and stick to it.
- Communicate with your loved one. Talk to him or her and keep the communication open, positive, and encouraging. Go to group therapy or family counseling and get advice from professionals who are experienced with drug and alcohol addiction.
- Understand you cannot control a person’s behavior. That includes your loved one’s addiction. Family and friends suffer a range of emotions from guilt, anger, frustration, and helplessness. Family therapy allows members to express their feelings.
These are helpful ways to cope when your loved one is addicted to drugs and alcohol. The addiction affects not only the individual but also family and friends. Understand that a person must want to change his or her lifestyle with addiction. A person cannot be forced to treatment and recovery, but love, support, and encouragement is a start in the right direction.
Recovery is possible and healing will take place in mind, body, and spirit. Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a holistic based, 12-step inspired, clinically proven program for alcoholism and co-occurring disorders. Call (844) 234-LIVE today for information on our partial care programs.