Walking on eggshells can become the norm when you are around a loved one who has become addicted to drugs and alcohol. You know that they need help, or they could be put in jail, committed to an institution, or worse, die from the insidiousness caused by their drinking and using. Since you are so worried about the consequences of their actions, you may even find yourself enabling their behavior because you know that they are headed down a miserable and dangerous path.
What you need to consider is that drug and alcohol addiction is powerful, and your imaginary cape will not be a match for it. You could find yourself spending way too much time on a lost cause without having the proper ammunition to combat it. If you really want to help your loved one, you will have to take to heart that there is a certain protocol to follow with someone who needs help with addiction.
Get your own help.
The best way to help someone else is to help yourself first. This means getting a therapist to research and gain knowledge about addiction. Even if you think you already know everything there is to know, you will be surprised to find that recovery information is never-ending and specific to each unique person. Being supported yourself will give you a better opportunity to support your loved ones in the way that they need to be instead of how you think they should be. Rather than be codependent on their addiction, you can start learning to set boundaries and guidelines that can help both of you to become healthy which will most likely have to start with you. Although you believe your loved one is the one with the problem, you are affected by their addiction as well. Seize this opportunity to be part of the change and become part of their solution.
Accept that they do not want your help.
Someone who abuses drugs and alcohol is not usually in a place to let others in because often they are not in place to accept, they have a problem themselves. Whether they are ashamed of letting you see them in that light or are in complete denial of recognizing the bad shape they are in, people who suffer from substance use disorders typically run from receiving help. They fear judgment, scared of admitting defeat, and scared of being put into treatment. Drugs and alcohol have become their coping mechanisms to live life and their fear of having to endure without them makes them terrified of getting the help they desperately need to get well. You cannot want someone’s sobriety more than they want it. They must want it for themselves for recovery to work. If they are merely trying to appease you to get sober, then they will eventually return to drinking and using because they will not use the tools to stay sober. Your loved one is really just wanting to get you off their back which will not keep them sober for the long haul. When you have exhausted all your efforts it may be time, unfortunately, to accept that this is not their time.
Be willing to walk away.
Yes. You read that correctly. You may have to stop interacting with them if they are unwilling to get the help they need especially if you are enabling them with money, a place to live, a car, a cell phone, or even with a hot shower and some food. When you give them some comfort in their addictive behaviors rather than showing them that you will no longer love them to death, you may be keeping them from hitting the bottom they need to hit in order to receive help. Instead of being held hostage by their addiction, you can be free knowing that even if they were to go to jail, a mental hospital, or shudder to think, they overdose, none of this is your fault. You can only do so much before a professional would need to step in and take over. A therapist, an interventionalist, or even a judge could lend the moment of clarity that is needed for them to get the treatment that they need to live.
If your loved one does not want the help you are offering to get better and only wants financial gain, you must realize that you do have a choice in this scenario. All you can do is figure out what the right thing to do is which will not come from following your heart. You will need to follow the appropriate way to help someone in a manner that could save their life.
Offering a full range of recovery and mental health services, Detox Center of Colorado offers “Expanded Recovery” to enrich our clients’ lives in mind, body, and spirit. Through evidence-based therapy options and the endless adventure of Colorado, Detox Center of Colorado fosters connection, encouraging clients to get connected to themselves, their peers, their families, and their higher power. With the power of recovery, clients are restored to full health and experience life-changing healing. Call us today for more information: 303-536-5463