Supporting A Loved One Who Is Struggling With Addiction

Although you may feel like judging, running for the hills, or sharing your disappointment with a loved one about their addiction, this moment isn’t about your feelings, wants or opinions. The moment is to support, protect, and motivate your loved one, to get better.

Even if you are prepared to support a family member or friend, it’s very important to be mindful of how impactful addiction is to deal with.

Those who experience addiction are usually judged, stereotyped, written off or disassociated from. They are isolated, overlooked, criticised, and misunderstood. Such treatment can be very difficult to deal with, whilst also juggling the effects, symptoms, and consequences of addiction.

An addiction is an extremely tough condition to experience, both uncontrollable and unmanageable. It is a clinical brain disorder, which can relapse due to the smallest trigger. It’s a sensitive and vulnerable condition to live through, which is why support is encouraged, instead of neglect or shame.

Supporting a loved one who is struggling with an addiction can offer a glimmer of hope, direction, the level of care and assurance that they require to recover. You can help them by helping themselves through rehabilitation.

Here’s the importance of approaching the topic with understanding, empathy, and education, along with some guidance for offering full support. For professional input, we are here for you and your loved one at Step One Recovery.


The importance of understanding, empathy and education whilst offering support

You may feel a pull towards your moral compass, to offer compassion and love. You may also feel influenced by the misconceptions and stigma of addiction, increasing your shame and judgment. Through such an internal battle, it can be difficult to consider and approach the possibility of supporting someone through addiction.

Yet, your support can play a significant role in changing and saving your loved one, especially whilst executed with understanding, empathy, and education. All are very important whilst supporting a loved one, providing the basis, strength, and approach to making a difference.

Offering support through an understanding outlook is very important. Although you may struggle to understand what it truly feels like to be addicted to drugs and alcohol, understanding that addiction is common, that it is a medical condition and that it is out of the control of your loved one will be helpful.

Following an empathetic approach is recommended, sharing compassion and love, along with your concerns. Supporting a loved one should be about building trust, sharing your worries, and showcasing your ability to stick around through the process.

Education is key, of how to approach the topic, the next best steps and also of how to treat addiction. With knowledge, you can recommend the most effective process for your loved one.

Supporting a loved one who is struggling with addiction can feel daunting. You may feel out of your depth. Yet by following our below tips, you’ll be educated, ready to understand and support.


How to support a loved one through addiction

Here are some tips that you can follow to support someone you care about through the turbulence of addiction.


Find an approach

You’ll need to find an approach that will work for you and your loved one. Your existing relationship will help with this. If you’re already close, your approach may be easier to define, as conversation may already be open and honest. If your relationship is struggling due to addiction, it’s essential to find an approach which will bridge the gap, increase trust and their desire to lean on you.


Educate yourself

Before sharing your concerns, you must educate yourself. Addiction is a complicated condition, with many misconceptions attached to it. Instead of following the stereotypes, it’s encouraged that you see addiction from the clinical diagnosis that it is. Do your research and understand how impactful addiction is for an addict.

You should also educate yourself on the recovery process, on life after rehab, on relapse risks and on how to recover for the long-term.


Avoid judgment or stereotypes

All forms of judgment should be left at the door. Even if you are disappointed or ashamed, this is the time to share your compassion and desire to help. Following stereotypes will also make things difficult, as your loved one will be struggling with their own battle. Focus on their experiences and feelings, whilst following their pace.


Establish trust and respect

Trust and respect are vital to have to strengthen your relationship and support network. Supporting a loved one who is struggling with addiction should be an honest and transparent act. Work on building up your relationship through day-to-day engagements, rather than fixating on their recovery.


Disable addictive habits

So far, you may have enabled drug and alcohol abuse. Although unknowingly in most cases, family and friends are found to either motivate or accept addictive habits. Instead, disable all habits by maintaining a clean house, by reducing stress levels, and providing positive distractions and coping strategies.


Focus on honest and empathetic communication

Your communication style should be empathetic. You’ll need to put yourself in the shoes of your loved one to understand their experiences. Vocalising your concern in a compassionate, honest way will be digested easier than through harsh and uncompassionate tones.


Expect difficulties

Supporting a loved one can be a bumpy, unpredictable process. Whilst recovery may seem close, obstacles can arise. You must expect difficulties, you must be resilient through obstacles, and you must be prepared to stick around.


Be patient

Struggling with addiction and its recovery can be a long process. Initial acceptance can take some time, along with adjusting to a drug and alcohol-free routine. You’ll need to be patient, follow their pace, and motivate where appropriate. Be aware of relapse signs and possible regress, yet also be patient and entrusting of your loved one’s commitment.


Get help

Throughout the process, you’ll likely need some help. Either opt for personal support or for professional guidance to make sure that you’re prepared, strong and mentally committed. Self-care should be a focus of your own, to keep up your energy, fight and involvement.


Prepare for the consequences

Relapse can happen. Regress can occur. Pushbacks can materialise. You need to be prepared for the possible consequences linked to addiction recovery. With education and understanding, you’ll have a greater insight on how to get back on track.


Share treatment options

Alongside offering emotional support, supporting a loved one should focus on rehabilitation. Once initial recovery has been accepted, sharing a range of treatment options will be recommended.

A range of options will ease your loved one into the idea of rehab. You should select the most accommodating options and those which can truly help them through treatment and relapse prevention.


Complete a referral or intervention

You can take action and get the ball rolling through a family and friend referral or intervention. A referral should be the first step, promoting possible rehab options. If your concerns are ignored, an intervention can be arranged to approach the topic through a controlled and neutral arrangement.


Finding professional addiction support here at Step One Recovery

Supporting a loved one who is struggling with addiction can be exhausting and overcoming. Yet it’s also a rewarding and fulfilling process.

We at Step One Recovery are here to ease the process for you, by offering professional guidance and services. Whether you require further information on approaching the topic of addiction, hope to complete a referral, or need to arrange an intervention, we are here for you.

Working alongside a private drug and alcohol rehab clinic will offer full reassurance, personal discretion, and greater understanding. Work with our team to support your loved one.