Adapting to the Reality that Your Loved One Is Addicted
Addiction is something we all know about, but never expect to become a part of our lives. It is not until we receive the disheartening news of a loved one’s addiction that we realize drug dependency is a closer reality than we thought. Although it may seem that life is taking a nosedive when addiction crops us, there is always hope of adjusting and maintaining happiness. You can accept a loved one’s addiction by understanding the condition, setting boundaries and by taking care of yourself.
How to Understand Addiction
When people find out that their loved one suffers from addiction, they often start thinking about how they impacted the user’s substance abuse, or how they could have gone so long without recognizing the signs. They might then get caught up fixing the addict’s problem, especially if they think they are supporting the addict. They might investigate local rehab facilities and think through plans for their loved one’s treatment. It is completely normal to go through this series of thoughts, but getting absorbed in them can keep you from truly adapting to your loved one’s addiction.
Understanding addiction can help you collect your thoughts and adjust to the changes. Addiction is a chronic, chemical illness that essentially hijacks the brain and leads people to do things they may not have ever considered before. The loved ones of an addict should not take such actions personally, and they must understand that the choice to recover must be made by the addict.
Setting Boundaries with Drug Addicts
Although you cannot expect your loved one to be ready for treatment right away, it is important that you sit down with him to set boundaries that make you feel safe. You should have a focused conversation with the addict about what behaviors you will not accept and what you will do if you find them occurring. Boundaries are particularly important for you and the addict, because they help you avoid enabling addiction. From the addict’s perspective, boundaries create guidelines that can move toward treatment. Because addiction alters the chemicals in the brain, addicts often struggle with setting their own personal boundaries. Therefore, when you establish boundaries that work for you, you may also help the addict with his own boundaries.
Taking Care of Yourself
With the right mindset and choices, you can cope with the reality that your loved one is an addict. However, one of the best things you can do for yourself is to evaluate and address any needs you have. Support groups like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon are designed specifically for the loved ones of addicts. By utilizing these types of support groups, then you can make meaningful connections with others who are going through the same problems. This will help you to establish an outlet for your concerns and allow you to take care for your own health and wellness.
Help for Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Recovering from addiction can help you find health and happiness in your life. Therefore, if you or a loved one has become addicted to drugs or alcohol, then please call our toll-free helpline today. Our admissions coordinators are available 24 hours a day to answer any questions you have about addiction treatment.