Learn What to Do When You Realize a Loved One Is Addicted

Addiction is a confusing and sometimes overwhelming disease, and not just for the person fighting it. When someone you love is struggling with addiction, you also have to reconcile your fears of losing that person and find ways to support his or her recovery. It can be tough to know where to start, but information is power when you’re trying to help someone you love reclaim his or her healthy life.

We’re here to help you do just that, and we can provide you with options for detox, effective counseling, and sustained sobriety for your loved one. Call us anytime to speak with an experienced and compassionate representative.

Let Rehab-Finder.Org Help You Take the First Step Toward Recovery. Call Our 24-Hour Hotline: 877-251-4813.

Formulate a Plan to Provide Meaningful Help

Recognizing an addiction is a giant step toward helping your loved one find his or her way to a healthier future. However, you also need an actionable plan to ensure that your support leads to meaningful assistance and eventual recovery.

“The faster you get your loved one into the right treatment program, the more you reduce the risk of a tragic outcome.”

The first step is to determine if your loved one is in the middle of a medical emergency. If you believe symptoms are unmanageable or that overdose is a possibility, you need to call 911 right away. This also goes for any suicidal thoughts or actions from the person. Of course, you need to remember that emergency medical attention isn’t enough to deal with addiction in any kind of sustainable way.

That’s why your second step must be to research all the treatment options at your disposal. We can help you along the way at no cost to you. Our representatives will help you home in on the right rehab center and evaluate payment options, including what types of services are covered by your loved one’s insurance provider. We also suggest that you reach out to your friend or family member’s physician for additional consultation on what course of treatment would be best.

From there, you need to call the treatment centers you think would be most helpful and ask a few key questions. It’s a good idea to ask about how much of the services provided are covered by your loved one’s insurance plan. We also suggest that you find out as much as you can about what types of addictions are treated and if the facility has room for new patients.

Probably the toughest part of your action plan is discussing treatment with your loved one. Remind yourself that recommending addiction treatment is simply a sign of how much you care for the person in question, and that his or her problems will worsen over time if you don’t take aggressive action. Make these points to the other person as well, and do your best to create a sense of urgency. After all, the faster you get your loved one into the right treatment program, the more you reduce the risk of a tragic outcome.

Once you have convinced your partner, family member, or friend to go into treatment, the final step in your plan of action is to be as supportive as possible. You can show your support by attending special family-and-friends weekends at the rehab center. Taking part in support groups such as Al-Anon is another good way to show your loved one that you are committed to avoiding relapse triggers and helping him or her achieve long-term recovery.

What You Need to Know About Addiction

You also need to learn as much as you can about addiction if you expect to offer meaningful support to your loved one. The first thing you must accept is that you may never fully understand what the person close to you is going through. Addiction is puzzling to those fighting it, and even more so for those on the outside.

Addiction is understood by experts as a chronic brain disease. It requires ongoing treatment, and constant support from friends and family. Remember that an addict’s decision-making abilities are compromised by the craving for the substance. Addicts engage in behaviors that hurt themselves and the people who care most about them. Don’t let these addiction-fueled exploits dissuade you from giving the best support you possibly can.

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What You Can’t Do to Help an Addicted Loved One

It can be difficult to find the right balance between loving support and serious guidance when dealing with an addicted loved one. We believe there are a few proven things you can and cannot do when helping an addict find his or her way to sustained recovery.

“You can’t allow yourself to become an enabler by letting your loved one get by when he or she breaks your rules.”

One thing you definitely can’t do is make someone with a substance abuse problem quit. Although an intervention may prove to be successful, you can’t force anyone to get sober. You can’t control another person or the situation he or she has created, and accepting this lack of control is a good thing. Once you come to terms with the fact that the other person must buy in, it becomes much easier to give the type of support he or she truly needs.

You also can’t put in the hard work of recovery on behalf of someone you love. Even if the person has gone into rehab, you can’t completely prevent them from succumbing to relapse. It’s not unusual for an addict to need several rounds of treatment. The chronic nature of addiction often leads to relapse no matter how vigilant you are. You can be an active participant in someone’s healing, but you can’t afford to lapse into becoming a babysitter.

Setting boundaries is something you must do when you’re helping a loved one fight his or her addiction. This means you absolutely can’t accept any behavior that violates those boundaries. You must maintain your credibility throughout the process, and allowing any action that perpetuates addiction is a sure way to lose it. Be sure to follow through with consequences if your loved one pushes past the boundaries you have set, even if it’s hurtful to do so. Even if you need to disengage for a while, you can’t allow yourself to become an enabler by letting your loved one get by when he or she breaks your rules.

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Things You Can Do to Aid an Addicted Loved One’s Recovery

Perhaps the most important thing you can do to become an asset to someone’s recovery from addiction is to educate yourself. The more you know about the signs of addiction, effective treatment methods, and relapse triggers, the better equipped you are to help your loved one achieve his or her sobriety goals. This is another reason why taking part in family counseling and support groups such as Al-Anon is so important. If you keep learning as your loved one goes through the rehab process, you can be more helpful when he or she has completed the program.

“The purpose of an intervention is simply to show an addict how destructive his or her behavior is to others. ”

You can also do yourself and your loved one a big favor by taking care of yourself throughout the recovery journey. If you expect to provide the support your friend, partner, or family member really needs, you should be in a positive frame of mind. Make healthy decisions and get plenty of rest as you offer whatever support you can to the person fighting addiction. If you need to see a therapist or join a support group outside your loved one’s treatment center, don’t feel guilty about doing so.

Being there to talk about the recovery process and all its challenges is another good way to help your loved one get closer to sobriety. Maintaining an open dialogue is the best way to cut through the difficulties and avoid any outbursts you might regret later. Don’t be judgmental, even when there are bumps in the road and both you and your loved one are frustrated. Keep the lines of communication open and clear throughout the recovery journey.
Get the Facts About Interventions

Although they are presented as such in popular culture, interventions are not always dramatic confrontations between addicts and tearful family members and friends. Interventions can take many forms because there are many different methods used by experienced professionals. Interventionists often use a mix of techniques they have found effective in order to convince addicts to check into a treatment program and pursue full recovery.

The purpose of an intervention is simply to show an addict how destructive his or her behavior is to others. Rates for hiring a professional and scheduling an intervention vary widely according to the experience of the person leading the effort and whatever travel arrangements might be needed. Fees can range from $1,500 to $10,000 and are not covered by insurance.

There are a few essential phases in any successful intervention:

  • Assessment: You will meet with the professional you hire to run the intervention to discuss the addict’s history. This includes the presence of any co-occurring mental health disorders. With the right background information, an interventionist is well equipped to draw an effective road map for long-term success.
  • Coordination: This is the process by which an interventionist selects a group of people he or she deems most likely to be helpful when confronting the addict. Those whom the addict respects most and shares strong bonds with will be chosen.
  • Preparation: Everyone who will be part of the intervention meets during this phase to review the overall plan and their roles in it. An escort team is chosen to accompany the person to treatment if he or she agrees to go. This step also sees group members decide what to say and do if the addict won’t cooperate.
  • The Actual Intervention: During the all-important event, it is essential that group members remain calm and maintain flexibility. The addict can get agitated during an intervention, and you must avoid escalating the tensions in any way. Even if the addict walks out upon realizing what is happening, there’s a good chance that he or she will return.
  • Post-Intervention: After the addict agrees to enter treatment (the typical result), the interventionist talks with family members and friends about what the next steps are and what they can expect going forward.

The Many Types of Interventions

There are many models of interventions in use. The success of yours will depend more on the experience level of the professional running it than the type of intervention you choose. Your intervention will likely feature a mix of elements from the following types.

The Johnson model is perhaps the most widely known type of intervention. Developed in the 60's by minister and recovering alcoholic Vernon Johnson, this model uses the five-step plan laid out above. It also emphasizes confronting an addict as early as possible so the disease doesn’t spread too far.

An invitational intervention focuses on the addiction itself rather than the destructive behaviors of the addict. One of the main goals of this intervention type is to help an entire family fight the disease of addiction. The chemical dependence problems and mental health issues of everyone in attendance are up for discussion.

Educating family members is a common goal of family-focused intervention models. Community Reinforcement and Family Training, or CRAFT, interventions provide family members with communication skills to get their loved ones in treatment programs. They also teach motivational tactics to keep addicts in recovery once they’re in a rehab facility.

There are also Pressures to Change procedures, which help loved ones encourage alternative activities to substance abuse. The idea is to apply pressure to the addict to curb his or her drinking or drug use and to snuff out any enabling behaviors from family and friends.

Let Rehab-Finder.Org help your loved one take the first step toward recovery from addiction. Call our 24-hour hotline: 877-251-4813.

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