When your loved one is wrestling with an addiction disorder, you and everyone in your family will similarly find themselves grappling with the problem. Heart-wrenching, physically exhausting, and emotionally draining, substance use disorders cannot be ignored. As a medical issue that requires intensive intervention and treatment, family members can play a significant role in helping their loved one to turn the corner and begin the process of recovery.
If you are hoping to assist your family in healing from addiction, here are the first steps to take make it happen.
1. Educate yourself.
The more you know about the nature of addiction, how it impacts the brain and the body, and the treatment services that have been proven to be effective in addressing addiction disorders, the better for you and your loved one. Take the time to study reputed resources and learn what you can about what your family will need in terms of treatment and support.
2. Ask questions.
If you are having a difficult time finding the information you need, substance abuse treatment professionals, your doctor, and others can help you get answers. Don’t forget to ask about:
- What treatment services and programs are available locally
- Whether or not going out of state for treatment is the best option for your loved one
- If family members can also be supported with recovery resources
- What your insurance will cover and how best to gain the coverage
3. Formulate a plan.
When you have all the information you need, it is time to start determining the best plan forward for your loved one and your family. Do you need to address finances in order to start treatment? Are you ready to move forward with treatment for your loved one and support them in the choice to enroll? Map out a step-by-step plan for how you will move forward, and if you need help, work with a treatment consultant to assist you along the way.
4. Find the right drug addiction treatment program.
There are a number of choices available in drug addiction treatment, but not all of them will be suitable for your loved one, and many of them will be full. It can take time to call and talk to different places, meet with treatment consultants, take tours, work with your insurance company, and then sort through the information you gather to find the best possible option for you and your family. This is not a process you have to navigate alone. In fact, you are encouraged to reach out for assistance at the beginning of your journey and get the help you need all along the way.
5. Gather support.
Though addiction in a family member can feel very isolating, you are far from alone in your experience. Reach out to friends and family who understand what you are going through, connect with community support groups made up of people who are similarly standing up to a loved one’s addiction, and make it a priority to get the support you need to continue.
This can happen in the form of a formal intervention – a group conversation among you, close family members, and your loved one living with addiction. It’s a structured conversation with one goal in mind: to help your loved one recognize the need for immediate addiction treatment.
The process of staging an intervention can begin at any point in your journey to helping your loved one into recovery. Every situation is unique, but it is often recommended that families staging an addiction:
- Meet with a professional interventionist or other substance abuse treatment professional to understand the general structure and purpose of an intervention.
- Meet together to discuss what they will say directly to the person in crisis, determine who will handle getting the individual to the intervention, who will go first, and who will lead.
- Work together to remove excessive emotion including anger or fear from their statements.
- Stay positive in their perspective, recognizing that healing takes time and patience is key.
7. Maintain your boundaries.
A part of your journey as a family member supporting someone in recovery is to identify areas where your loved one’s addiction disorder has encroached on your ability to live a healthy life and to set healthy boundaries. No matter what your loved one’s response to an intervention, it is important for your own health and wellness to maintain those boundaries, stay the course, and continue to work toward a balanced family life in recovery.
Are you ready to take the first step?