Taking Control of Addiction: 5 Strategies for Family Members

Drug addiction can be a devastating disease, but help can be found through addiction counseling. The devastation is often felt in every aspect of life. Family, friends, finances, and careers all suffer when a person is addicted. When that kind of devastation happens, a family needs all help they can get and often feel lost and disconnected. However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. With the proper steps, and time, things can get back on the right track.

1. Treat addiction like a disease
Medical professionals suggest that addiction is a complicated disease, not just a weakness or bad decision. Many addicts are not able to simply stop taking drugs when they want to. Addiction is not normally about lack of will power or apathy. There are underlying reasons why the addict started taking drugs and there are chemical changes in the addict once they are hooked. Just as with any other disease, a treatment plan should be arranged by a medical professional, based on the patient’s particular situation.

2. Try not to enable the addict in your family
Enabling an addict doesn’t mean purchasing drugs for them, or even allowing them to do them. It means that family members sometimes make excuses and great allowances for drug addicts. At addiction counseling, it is taught that this type of reaction to an addict’s behavior doesn’t help. Instead, common sense dictates that the person suffering from addiction should face their actions and the consequences, in order to learn from their behavior and begin to make positive changes.

3. Seek all the education you can
Part of taking control of a disease is learning about it. In order to help the loved one that is addicted, as well as the rest of the family, many medical professionals recommend learning as much as possible about addiction, drugs, recovery, and resources. Learning about difficult things can help relieve the overwhelming and normal negative feelings of fear, helplessness, frustration, anxiety, anger, confusion, and guilt.

4. Therapy is key to recovery, for everyone
If an addict in the family is ready to face their disease, then they and everyone in the family will benefit by addiction counseling. Family therapy is helpful for everyone to attend, in order to improve positive communication and relationships. Individual therapy is also important, so each member of the family has tools for expressing negative emotions. The most important therapy is for the addict, in order to begin recovery and replace bad habits and emotions with good ones.

5. Try to keep the family together
The goal of helping a loved one to stop taking drugs is not only so they can become healthy again, but also to return the family to a functioning unit. Maintaining open, honest communication can help. With the tools learned at addiction counseling, a family can begin to heal. Medical professionals also suggest that the family members not suffering from addiction receive attention and try to maintain a normal life with hobbies and activities. Go to little league, family barbecues, or anything that can help the family find positive things to do together.

The ravages of addiction affect more than just the person suffering from addiction. Their whole family suffers. It is important to begin learning the options for support and seek help as soon as possible.

Remember to talk with your doctor before taking any treatment or medical remedy.