Living with drug addiction isn’t easy. However, if you happen to have a family member or friend who’s addicted to drugs, you’re probably having quite a hard time yourself. It’s not uncommon to experience distress, frustration, and other negative emotions as you wonder whether or not this person will be okay, and whether or not they’ll ever come to seek treatment. In fact, being the family member of an addict is so stressful that many addiction experts recommend seeking therapy. Consulting with a therapist is one of the best things that you can do to regain your peace of mind. These services can also help you establish a better understanding of how to help your loved one without sacrificing yourself.
The consequences of drug addiction are both serious and widespread. Without the help of friends and family members, many addicts experience significant financial loss and major legal challenges. Providing the help that people need to stay afloat in spite of their drug use may seem like a good idea, but it can actually keep your loved one trapped in the cycle of addiction. Calling in sick for work for someone after they’ve been out all night drinking or using, paying their legal fees, or even covering their basic living costs are all enabling behaviors. Without this support, addicts are virtually guaranteed to hit their personal “rock bottom”. This is the place at which they can recognize that the drawbacks of continued drug use far outweigh the benefits. When people hit rock bottom, they’re more likely to seek professional addiction treatment or take other steps to stop addiction from controlling their lives.
Discover the Power of Loving Detachment
Offering an addicted person help could prove life-saving. However, if an addict is a legal adult, they’ll have to accept this help willingly. You cannot commit someone to professional addiction treatment without first seeking a legal order. In the State of Florida, family members of addicts can rely on the provisions of the The Marchman Act. This is a law that allows relatives of heavy drug users to petition for involuntary assessment and stabilization, if they believe that addicts are a danger to themselves or to others. Sadly, laws like this one do not exist or apply everywhere. More often than not, family members of spiraling addicts simply have to wait until these individuals are ready to quit themselves.
Loving detachment is a way of making sure that your enabling behaviors are not making it possible for a person to keep using drugs. It is the process of setting clear and firm boundaries for someone who’s clearly addicted, and who’s refused all forms of addiction help. When lovingly detaching from an addicted spouse, sibling, or adult child, it’s important to let them know that you are always available to help when they’re ready to start treatment. Loving detachment can be beneficial for everyone in the home by removing the stress, anxiety, and fear of having an addict living in-house. This is all the more true when minor children are involved. Many people choose to lovingly detach after staging interventions. An intervention is an opportunity for everyone in an addict’s life to band together, offer help, and set boundaries. Once you’ve accomplished this, you’ll be free to start your own journey to healing, and can begin spending more of your time, energy, and resources on nurturing your own life.
One of the most important things for family members of addicts to know about drug addiction is that it is a complex and long-term disease. People who struggle with drug use often lack the power to stop on their own. Their failure to limit their substance use or to stop using outright is the result of chemical dependency, and significant changes in their brain chemistry. Thus, although you might be frustrated with your loved one, they’re likely equally frustrated with themselves. In addition to the changes that long-term drug use have on the brain, addiction can have a variety of underlying causes. Many people start using drugs to:
- Compensate for feelings of low self-worth
- Deal with unresolved trauma, guilt, or grief
- Self-treat underlying mental health disorders that haven’t been properly diagnosed and managed
When your loved one chooses to commit to treatment, it’s important to continue offering your support. Should this person decide to return home after their rehab has ended, you’ll need to maintain a temptation-free living environment. Family members can also show their support to recovering addicts by attending any family therapy sessions that are part of their addiction treatments, and by doing all that they can to heal from the secondhand effects of addiction themselves. If you or someone you love has substance use disorder, we can help you find the best and most needs-specific options in treatment. Call us today at 833-364-0736. Our counselors are always standing by.