It Is Never Easy To See Your Loved One Be Destroyed By Addiction
Substance abuse destroys not just the addict’s life, but that of his loved ones as well. Addiction is very difficult to cure, because it takes the concerted efforts of the patient, the significant people around him, and the therapists, in order to make progress towards recovery. Nothing is more frustrating and disheartening than to see your loved one’s life fall apart. The bad news is that you have a responsibility to help the person find his way to rehab, while the good news is that you exert a great deal of influence in making his recovery journey a successful one. Although it would be unavoidable for you to feel helpless and desperate along the way, there is a way that you can turn this unfavorable emotions around to make the recovery possible and manageable. Experts advise that you need to take these steps.
You need to make your loved one feel that you are there for him and that you completely understand what he’s going through. As hard as it may seem for you to do this, the key to getting your loved one’s ‘trust’ is by employing a ‘helping’ approach where you do not insist upon your ways. Logical thinking is usually nonexistent for someone in addiction, and any attempt to reason out with him or win over an argument will only drive him further away and make him more antagonistic or withdrawn. Empathizing means that you patiently draw out from him what he’s feeling, why he thinks he’s feeling that way, and not putting him on the defensive. Should you be in a circumstance where you would be in a disagreement potentially, leave the situation temporarily instead of forcing your opinion. Active listening plays a very crucial role in this step because it helps you have a better understanding of where he’s coming from, which in turn, allows him to voice out his thoughts and emotions without feeling threatened. In the end, your loved one would be able to admit to himself and to you that he has a problem that needs to be addressed.
Keep a healthy boundary between you and your loved one
It is imperative that you also make a healthy boundary for yourself. While it is a reality that you tend to become vulnerable and too affected by the plight of your loved one, it is you who is in the best position to set limits – or rules, if you wish, so that you are able to keep your sanity in check and establish some form of control in your lives. Creating solid boundaries enable relationships to stay healthy somehow, and you, being the logical one (between you and the patient, that is), need to be the one to spell out what should and should not be. In this way, you don’t compromise anything, and you give greater chances for your loved one to accept the road to recovery. As simple as setting rules like you will not lie on your loved one’s behalf, or you will remove any form of alcohol at home, are just basic ways on how you would play an active role in your loved one’s recovery period.
Let your loved one take responsibility
Do not dwell on blaming others or yourself for the predicament of your loved one. Remember that there must first be an acceptance that there is indeed an addiction problem and that help is needed. You don’t put your loved one in a straightjacket and lock him up, but he has to initiate the move to get himself rehabilitated. Anything that is forced upon the person is a recipe for disaster, especially if he has not yet fully accepted the reality. This step is also necessary to enable you to set up that healthy boundary that YOU have to create.
While you have the responsibility of taking action when a loved has turned into addiction, you have to seek out others to help your loved one get into recovery. Do your own research and find experts to guide you. It is but natural for you to get counselling first to know the most suitable approach to take and look for support groups who can provide you the enlightenment that you need. Sharpen your own helping spears so you can be better equipped to support your loved one as he embarks on his recovery — from the time that he accepts his ‘problem’ and until he graduates from rehab.
In a nutshell: Not tough, but a firm and kind love
It has been revealed in recent studies that applying tough love tough love does not guarantee that your addicted loved one will change his ways. What does seem to work very well is using a kind, yet firm love when trying to help your loved deal with his problem. It is a rather long process of silent handholding, but one that reassures your loved one that you are always standing by and ready to help him up as he stumbles along the difficult path of recovery.