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Tips for Family Members of Addicts

Millions of Americans struggle with addiction every year, and families across the nation watch loved ones spiral downward because of their drug and alcohol abuse.  However, there are solutions and despite only a small percentage of Americans receiving treatment, no addict has to live the rest of his or her life addicted to drugs or alcohol.  Family intervention is the most successful way to convince any addict they need treatment, and it helps the family start down a path of healing.  Yet, during the time when the addiction starts and the family decide to do an intervention, the family is essentially coping with the problem.  As well, every family plays a large part in the recovery of an addict and there are things along the way that a family can do to support a recovering addict and cope and manage the problems associated with addiction.


Stay connected with peer support groups and understanding people – it is not easy living with someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol.  It can become an ongoing stressful situation leading to dysfunction, mistrust and other family issues.  If the family can stay connected to family support groups, 12-step meetings, or any type of peer support group, it helps to manage the stress.  People go to meetings for all types of reasons, it could help achieve a better quality of life, deal with fewer problems with the addict, lower the level of stress, and improve mental well-being.  Meeting other families who are going through similar experiences is also reassuring, and does help the family become aware of the support that is available. 

Read as much as possible about addiction – knowledge, and education is always important and there is a wealth of knowledge available talking about substance abuse.  Every day the family should research addiction, speak to experts in the field, and learn more about substance abuse and how it affects people and families.  Having this information can help boost a family’s sense of hope and education can help families avoid the blame game.  Newman Interventions can provide families with extensive educational resources to help them understand what is happening and learn more about addiction and intervention.

Family therapy is important – being able to talk to someone else about the problems created because of the addiction does relieve stress.  There are also underlying issues with most families, such as old arguments and unresolved issues.  Family therapy also helps families regain trust and learn how to effectively communicate with one another.  Therapy sessions can take time, but they are beneficial and do help bring families closer together.

Manage expectations and work with the interventionist – when your loved one enters treatment the family will then embark on their own healing.  This is often done with the guidance of the interventionist, as they will be there to provide advice and help to the family while the addict is in treatment.  It will take time for things to change, and nothing will happen overnight, so it is important for the family to be prepared and work through it one day at a time.  The key is to focus on the work part of recovery, which is important when they finish treatment.  People in early recovery make mistakes and they may not yet be their full ideal selves.  It is important to remain supportive and do not expect everything to happen right away.


Educate and Advocate

Take part in spreading awareness about drug abuse, volunteer at meetings, become involved with community coalitions, because there are always other families going through similar experiences.  There is often a lot of false information about addiction and what it is, and people lose hope every day.  Being able to talk about addiction and educate other families about it does help the healing process.  There was someone there who was willing to help your family, and it is only right to return the favor.

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