My loved one is suffering from an addiction – What can I do to help them get better?

March 12, 2020

Each week, we receive numerous phone calls from family members all asking the same burning question: “My loved one is suffering from an addiction – What can I do to help them get better?”

The answer is often an uncomfortable and unwanted one: Focus on yourself. The choices to go to treatment, to get sober, and to live in recovery lie completely in the hands of your loved one. You cannot force them to receive treatment any more than you can force a diabetic to take insulin. What you can do is focus on taking care of yourself. Here are some ways to begin focusing on yourself first:

Practice self-care. Make plans to have dinner with friends. Take a luxurious bubble bath. Cook a delicious and nutritious meal. Go to the gym. Play a sport. Get crafty. Take up that hobby that you haven’t had time for, or take a class to learn a new one. Spend time on yourself.

See a therapist. Coping with a loved one’s addiction is stressful, and often brings up overwhelming feelings of fear, anger, hurt, and powerlessness. If your loved one is in active addiction or early recovery, they are probably not in a place to help you sort out or carry these feelings. A therapist can help you do this, in a safe space that is focused on you.

Go to an Al-Anon meeting. Did you know that there are 12 step meetings for you too? Al-Anon is a 12 step program for people who are or have struggled with a loved one’s addiction, to help them find a community and a solution. Find a meeting near you today: https://al-anon.org/

You want your loved one to take better care of themselves. The best way to lead is by example.