How to love and support someone with an active substance abuse addiction.
Many people misunderstand love and go about it the wrong way when it comes to addicts. An addict feels like he is in a helpless situation, which might not be the case. One of the most effective ways to handle an addict is to encourage them to regain control of their lives, without enabling them. This is because an addict is someone who has lost control of their lives to whatever addiction they have, and they feel like they can’t survive without it.
When someone’s confidence and esteem is gained through a particular substance, without it, they feel out of control and seek it desperately to regain their false sense of confidence. That drug or habit becomes their go-to emotional fix when feeling down.
It is by understanding the mental model of an addict that you will be able to be of great help to them. When they are having a ‘pity party,’ you should not join in if you want to show them, real love. Don’t get emotional with an addict. Instead, talk about emotions with them.
It is essential that you empathize with an addict and not sympathize with them. Empathy comes from a real understanding of one’s situation, whereas sympathy comes from a position of weakness. The thing to understand with addicts is that if they are to cry on your shoulders, don’t let them do it for a long time before you begin encouraging them to better themselves. If you do allow them to wallow, those negative feelings may become tied to you, and they may come to resent you in the long run.
Instead, what you want to do with an addict is to focus on the bright side of things and not dwell on the bad feelings that they have. It is useful when they decide to talk out their emotions, and when that happens, be their rock, remain unshaken, and show them strength in those moments of weakness. You want to be a pillar of strength.
One way of showing an addict’s strength is to let them know of the many things that they can do with their lives and regain control of it. The more you encourage and support them to start doing small things with their lives, the quicker they will fight back to the light and leave that dark hole of addiction.
It is good to remind an addict that many people have managed to fight their way out of addictions in the past, and it is not as uncontrollable of a situation as they might think. Most addicts feel alone in their worlds, but they must realize that they are not as alone as they may feel. The life they want is just possible if they are to force their mind to think differently and see the possibilities around them.
Most addicts are our friends and families who might have fallen into the addiction because they somehow felt neglected by those around them. It is good to be that loyal friend who does not only listen to them but continuously reminds them they have a friend while in need. Be someone willing to listen to them non-judgmentally as they fight out of that depression or addiction that is keeping them down.
If they need someone to accompany them to therapy sessions, be there with them. At the same time, give them the tools they need to help themselves, it is important to make addicts realize that they can pull themselves out of tight situations on their own. That is how they regain absolute control of their lives. Some of the tools addicts might need include meditation and daily exercises to help re-channel their energy instead of focusing their time on the addiction.
It is significant to understand what led to an addiction that an addict is suffering from, that is the main underlying emotional issue which you shall need to help an addict address. Even depression is an addiction of the mind which comes from obsessive thinking patterns. What the depressed person is obsessed with thinking about might be the leading cause of that depression, and if that is fixed, then the person has hope.
You will find that most addicts may have lost a loved one, a job, or, sadly, just overall hope in life. When you find out what an addict has lost that leads to him or her hiding behind addictions, it will be easy to assist them with their problem. Above all, addictions are something that, unless you have one, you may never understand. Remember to be empathetic but not enable for longterm success and support.
At Rockland Treatment, we understand how consuming addiction is and how intimidating taking the first step to a better, sober life can be. We have served clients nationwide with our residential and outpatient programs using custom-built treatment plans to help you achieve and maintain sobriety, and we are ready to do the same for you. We recognize that each person’s journey is unique, and will work with you to determine your individual needs and desires for recovery.
Your path to recovery and wellness starts with the first step. Contact us for a free assessment, and allow us to show you how our program can help you lead the life you want, unshackled by addiction, and surrounded with love.