How to Respond When a Family Member is Struggling with Addiction

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How to Respond When a Family Member is Struggling With AddictionSubstance abuse affects thousands of families across the country. News of family struggling with addiction typically comes as a shock, and emotions can run high as the user’s loved ones struggle to accept reality. It’s vital that families helping an addict enter treatment control their emotions and provide consistent encouragement. We have helpful advice for you and your family if you are considering how to get a loved one into addiction treatment.

Don’t Point Fingers

When a loved one delivers the news that he or she has a substance abuse problem, some family members may feel extreme guilt, believing that they somehow contributed to the addiction. Others may feel angry or resentful, placing the entirety of the blame onto the addict. Shifting blame, however, will not change the situation, nor will it help a loved one overcome his or her addiction.

Encourage Responsibility

Family members express a wide range of reactions when they hear the news that a loved one has an addiction. Some unintentionally enable their loved one’s habit out of a desire to be helpful. Others will distance themselves from the addicted person completely. Family members may even react by blaming the addict for being an inconvenience.

Instead of shifting blame, family members are encouraged to show love and support. Family members can also play a helpful role by emphasizing to their loved one the importance of taking responsibility for their actions by seeking treatment. After all, no one struggling with substance abuse can overcome addiction without admitting their role in the situation.

Understanding Enabling vs. Helping

Understanding Enabling Vs. HelpingSome family members may believe they are helping their loved ones through a difficult time, when in reality they are sustaining their deadly habits. The first rule of dealing with a substance abuse problem in the family is to never give money to the addicted individual. Families must assume that any cash an addicted individual receives will immediately go toward buying more alcohol or drugs.

If a family member is struggling financially with bills or debts and you want to help, consider electronic payment and be sure to safeguard your financial information. It’s not uncommon for people struggling with addiction to burn through their reserve finances very quickly. In cases like these, they may then begin stealing from friends and family.

Don’t Wait Until Rock Bottom

Many people believe that a person with a substance abuse problem needs to hit their absolute lowest point before he or she will change. In reality, taking this approach actually puts a struggling person in greater danger. Family members should instead address the problem as it manifests, stay constructive and encourage accountability. Additionally, working with a professional interventionist can go a long way toward successfully guiding a loved one into treatment.

Do Work with a Professional

At Family First Intervention, we believe that family dynamics play a critical role when it comes to helping people struggling with substance abuse. One way that family members can demonstrate support for an addicted loved one is by organizing a professionally guided intervention. An intervention can be a major first step toward pushing a loved away from substance abuse and toward a healthier lifestyle in recovery.

Get the Facts and Connect With a Professional Before Staging an Intervention for Your Loved One

Family First Intervention

Mike Loverde

As a Certified Intervention Professional (CIP), member of NAATP, NAADAC, and accredited by the Pennsylvania Certification Board, Mike Loverde knows first-hand what it’s like to live life with addiction. By overcoming it, he had a calling to work with others who struggle with drug and alcohol addictions—the people who use and the families who feel helpless watching them decay.

With thousands of interventions across the United States done and many more to come, Loverde continues to own the intervention space, since 2005, by working with medical doctors, psychiatrists, psychologists and others who need expert assistance for their patients who need intervention. To further his impact on behavioral health and maximize intervention effectiveness, Loverde is near completion of a Masters in Addiction Studies (MHS) accreditation, as well as a Licensed Independent Substance Abuse Counselor (LISAC), and is committed to attaining the designation of a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC).

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