How to Support a Loved One Who’s Struggling with Addiction

Is someone you love struggling with addiction? Keep reading to learn how you can support them on their road to recovery.

A recent study revealed that almost 50 percent of Americans have either a family member or close friend dealing with an addiction to drugs. There are also millions of other Americans who know someone addicted to alcohol, gambling, or one of the other vices destroying so many lives.

If you know someone with an addiction, you might feel powerless, helpless, and even hopeless when it comes to showing your support for them. When a person is struggling with addiction, it can take them months, years, or even decades to get things under control.

At the end of the day, those who are addicted to something need to make the decision to get clean on their own. But you can certainly steer them in the right direction.

Here are some key ways to support them.

Educate Yourself About Addiction

If you’ve never been forced to deal with addiction yourself, there’s a good chance that you don’t know much about addiction and how it works. That can make it difficult for you to speak with someone struggling with addiction.

From the outside looking in, the solutions to an addict’s problems might look simple. It’s why so many people try to tell addicts things like:

  • “Just stop drinking already!”
  • “It’s time for you to put the drugs down and give them a rest!”
  • “You could stop gambling if you really wanted to!”

Those who have never battled addiction don’t understand the powerful grip it has on people. By educating yourself about it, you will be able to do a much better job of assisting a loved one who is struggling with it.

Offer Your Support

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction and you want to be of assistance to them, one of the first things you should do is simply let them know that you’re there for them.

In some cases, addicts don’t want help. They either aren’t ready for it just yet or don’t trust other people to give them the assistance they need.

It can be frustrating to offer help to someone who clearly needs it only to be shot down. But a person’s addiction isn’t just going to go away overnight. They need people in their lives who they know will be there for them.

If you feel as though you can be one of those people, you should let your loved one know about it. In no uncertain terms, you should tell them you will support them and do whatever you can to help them if they ever decide they need you to provide them with help.

Refuse to Provide Financial Assistance

While you should, by all means, offer to support a person who is struggling with addiction, you should not do it in a financial sense.

There are some forms of addiction that aren’t directly tied to money. But in most cases, addicts need money in order to feed addiction–and they’ll do just about anything to get it.

A person dealing with an addiction might lie to you about why they need money. They might say it’s for rent, food, clothing, or something else that sounds very believable. This might make you inclined to give them the money they need.

However, there’s a good chance that person may turn around and use that money for something other than what you intended it for.

Buying things for someone battling an addiction is also usually not a good idea. They can very easily turn around and sell whatever you bought in exchange for the money they need to pay for their addiction.

So while it’s okay to offer support to someone struggling with addiction, it’s not okay for that support to come in the form of money.

Stage an Intervention

There are some people battling addiction who just can’t seem to realize what their addiction is doing to their friends and family members. If you have tried to talk to your family member or close friend about addiction and been dismissed, staging an intervention might be the best way to go.

An intervention will give you and your fellow family members and friends a chance to speak with the addicted person about how their behavior is affecting them. Interventions can really open up eyes and show addicts what their decisions are doing to those closest to them.

But with that being said, you should be prepared for what might happen if someone struggling with addiction isn’t receptive to an intervention. You should also learn about staging successful interventions before you set one up.

Provide Information About Treatment Centers

Those struggling with addiction don’t always know where to turn to get help for their problems. Most people have heard about treatment centers, but they don’t know where they’re located or how to check into one.

Your loved one might not be interested in going to a treatment center. But it wouldn’t hurt to set them up with some information about several in your area.

You can pass along a few brochures about treatment centers and speak with your loved one about what each one offers. You might even want to call ahead and see about availability at each center just in case your loved one decides they want to take you up on your offer.

Encourage Checking into a Rehab Facility

Some addicts might jump at the chance to check into a rehab facility. But oftentimes, you will find that someone struggling with addiction will be hesitant to commit to one.

That is to be expected. But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t gently encourage an addict to consider–at the very least–checking into one in the near future.

You don’t want to come across as being too pushy. You also don’t want to issue an ultimatum to an addict unless you have had enough and are ready to stick to your ultimatum.

But as you continue to interact with a person dealing with addiction, both now and in the future, you should let them know you wouldn’t mind helping them find rehab centers for addiction treatment.

Avoid Lectures

Those who don’t understand how addiction works can grow extremely frustrated with people struggling with addiction. They can’t comprehend how someone can’t just stop giving in to their demons over and over again.

As a result, these people are usually inclined to deliver lectures to an addict every time they come into contact with them.

You might have the best intentions in mind when you start lecturing an addict. But it will usually come across as preaching to them, and they won’t listen. They might even stop turning to you for help if you are constantly telling them what’s wrong with the way they’re behaving.

It can be difficult to find the right balance when communicating with a person struggling with addiction. But in general, you want to be firm with them while also showing some support and letting them know that you’re not angry or upset with them.

You will get a lot further with a person when you take this approach.

Play an Active Role in Recovery

At some point, the goal for you will be to get your loved one the help they so desperately need. But even after that happens, your job won’t be finished.

Whether an addict gets help at a rehab facility or through a 12-step program, you will need to continue to work with them on their road to recovery. You can show them there is a way to live a happy life after addiction.

There are some ways you can help them along in their journey. Here are a few steps you can take:

  • Ask them how things are going with their recovery without mentioning it too often.
  • Offer to provide them with transportation to and from meetings if they need it.
  • Help them get involved with a new hobby to fill up their free time.
  • Tell them you would be more than willing to take their calls at any time if they ever need someone to talk to.
  • Let them know you would love to continue supporting them.

Unfortunately, there is no way to guarantee that a person struggling with addiction won’t relapse. Studies have shown that the relapse rate for someone dealing with substance abuse is as high as 60 percent during the first year.

But that doesn’t mean you should give up on a person even if they do turn back to their addiction. You should continue to show your love and support for them and do whatever you can to help them get back on the road to recovery as quickly as possible.

Get Help for a Loved One Struggling with Addiction

Overcoming an addiction can be very difficult for a person. But it can be a lot easier when they have family members and friends by their side encouraging them to do it.

Check out our blog for more tips on supporting your loved one as they strive to beat an addiction once and for all.