Addiction is a complex and serious mental health illness that can have a devastating impact on not just the individual afflicted but also their loved ones. It can be incredibly hard to watch someone you care about struggle with addiction, and the social stigma surrounding addiction often makes it feel like the wounds are there to stay forever, but that’s not true.
There are some things you can do to not only stop drug addiction from destroying your family but also ensure you all have a better life going forward.
1. Get Adequate Treatment
When talking about drug addiction, most people focus on getting clean – that is, stopping the use of psychoactive substances. While that is, of course, a crucial step in recovery, according to the experts from Veritas Detox – it’s only the starting point. Being addicted doesn’t only manifest itself through misuse of different substances – it also has a lot to do with thought and behavioral patterns that might have even preceded that addiction itself.
This is why it’s important to seek adequate treatment for the afflicted person. You don’t only want to help them stop using, but you also want to ensure they’re changing the way they act and think to avoid a relapse in the future.
Some of the behaviors that are common in addicts are very similar to those with an antisocial personality disorder which can be very damaging to the family even when they’ve been clean for a while. In order to make sure that your family comes out of this as unscathed as possible, you need to get your loved one into a treatment program that will help them not only stop using but also provide a more holistic treatment approach that will help change their ways.
2. Take Responsibility
One of the things that every family member needs to understand about addiction – except young children, of course – is that there are a few reasons why it comes to be. The obvious factor is the character profile of the afflicted person, however, the other two are the social circle the person is in, as well as the home setting.
A lot of family members often have a hard time accepting their part in the development of the illness, but it’s crucial to do so if you want to change things for the better. It’s important to take responsibility for the role you played in this person developing an addiction and then make a change.
This doesn’t mean blaming yourself – or others, though. Feeling guilt or laying blame is completely unnecessary and even counterproductive, however, taking responsibility is important.
There’s also the question of enabling behavior that most family members exhibit. Were there times when you tried to push the problem under the rug? Or when you made excuses for the person’s bad behavior? The key is to learn from what happened and make sure it doesn’t happen again.
3. Make Appropriate Changes
Once your loved one comes back from the treatment facility, they need their home to be a safe place for them to recover. This means making some changes to your lifestyle and habits as well.
Any reminders of drug use should be erased from your home. This includes drug paraphernalia, as well as pictures, and other reminders.
You should also make sure that there are no drugs or alcohol in the house. It would also be a good idea for everyone to abstain from any substance – including alcohol, at least during the first year.
In addition to this, it’s important to have a support system in place for your loved one. This means being there for them when they need to talk and helping them stay on track with their recovery.
You should also consider joining a support group for family members of addicts – this can be incredibly helpful and therapeutic.
4. Talk About The Hurt
While stress is a common trigger for addicts, once they have a firm ground to stand on – usually about 6 months into therapy, it might be a good idea to talk about the hurt that was caused during the addiction. This is a very delicate subject and should be approached with caution, but it can help the entire family heal.
It’s important to remember that addicts are ill, and they didn’t choose to be addicted. However, that doesn’t mean that the pain they caused should be ignored.
While it can be cathartic to talk about specific situations or behaviors that wounded each of you, it’s important to do so in a way that doesn’t try to fix blame. The focus should be on the healing process and moving forward.
In a similar sense, be prepared for the recovering person to share how they’ve been hurt by you as well. It all comes back to taking responsibility, but talking instead of just thinking about it can make it a bit more difficult. However, with the right intent and approach, it can be exactly the thing your family needs to heal.
Drug addiction is a serious illness that can have devastating effects on families. However, it is possible to overcome addiction and heal the family bond.
It takes time, effort, and patience, but it is possible. If you or someone you love is struggling with addiction, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.