Addiction affects families just as much as their addicted loved ones. In the midst of all the treatment, medications and meetings, it’s crucial for family members to evaluate their own well-being. Here are three actions people can take to help themselves while they help their addicted loved one:
Join a support group
Oftentimes families will feel isolated or judged by others because of what their loved one is going through. There is a negative stigma with addiction. This can make the situation difficult to discuss, sometimes even with fellow family members. Joining a support group connects people who are going through a similar process with an addicted loved one. The focus is on family support and how the affected individuals are thinking and feeling. Groups such as Al-Anon and Horizon Health Services offer family support meetings.
Go to counseling
Addiction is like any other disease, in that families can’t cure it or control it. Oftentimes people talk about addiction like it’s a matter of willpower or it’s someone’s fault. It can be difficult to cope when families desperately want to help and make it better, but the disease of addiction is out of their hands. They watch a loved one go through something terrible and they can only do so much. Counseling is a good resource to guide families through the process.
The more family members know about the disease of addiction, the more they’ll understand what their loved one is going through. It will make the addicted person’s behaviors more predictable and it will guide people to more resources for support, crisis and treatment. Knowing why their addicted loved ones act the way they do can help people foster better responses.