1.    EDUCATION

Learning about the addictions which are so common is society is the first step to helping another.  Addiction and drug abuse is not just about substances affecting the brain chemistry and central nervous system; it is much more. It involves underlying reasons for self-medicating and choosing to risk health by taking illicit drugs in the first place, or abusing legal substances in the second place.

Any number of things in life can become addicting, and once the emotions involving a person’s self-medicating are understood the sooner the addiction recovery process can take place.  Drug rehab programs treat the underlying causes of addictive behaviors. Drug rehabilitation can help turn negative behaviors into positive ones.

2.    SUPPORTING EFFORTS VS. ENABLING

We love our family and friends. Supporting them towards a path to recovery does not mean enabling them. Enabling is disabling. One of the hardest things in life to do is to walk away from a person not willing to receive the help that is being offered to them. It is as heartbreaking as watching the death of someone we love.  In a real sense, those who suffer with drug addicted loved ones say it feels the same as watching a person suffering from cancers or other terminal illnesses.

It is important to become educated what some of the enabling vs. supportive behaviors are. It takes “action” to change a course in life. Enabling may be allowing a person to continue their substance abuse, offer money, housing, and excuse the addiction rather than insisting upon a course of action to cure the problem.

3.    ESTABLISHING BOUNDERIES

There comes a point where you will no longer be able to be a part of your loved one’s addiction.  You will draw boundaries for their behavior and yours. These boundaries can be done rationally and issued in a challenging but loving way to the person who is addicted.

Boundaries both protect you and the person addicted. They protect other loved ones and family members. By closing certain doors and refusing to be “part of” the problem, the door remains open to be “part of the solution.”

4.    LECTURING AND GUILT TRIPS DON’T WORK

Relationships with those we love become complicated when addictions are in play. Addictions are disease and require the support of professionals trained to treat the variety of drug abuse and dependency problems out there. If guilt or shame was effective, it probably would have worked by the time you chose to read this.

Love is not all soft feelings. It is also concerned feelings that can take strong measures to cure disease and challenges. You must be loving, and show support through strength of conviction and laying out a path for recovery that may include a drug rehab program. There are great programs that offer support for you as well.

Some of those public and non-profit programs to help support you and family members coping with addictions may include:

  • Addiction Answers
  • Al-Anon Family Groups
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • American Medical Association
  • Cocaine Anonymous
  • Higher Education Center for Alcohol and Other Drug Prevention
  • Mothers Against Drunk Driving
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
  • Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration

5.    ENCOURAGE TREATMENT AND DRUG REHAB PROGRAMS

An addicted person only sees the next hit and even beginning to complete a puzzle to “how to treat my problem” can seem overwhelming. Coaching toward an alcohol and drug rehab program can be as simple as starting out with the offer: “I will help you get professional treatment. Are you ready?”  This signals to the loved one that you are always there, ready to stand with them, and it doesn’t overwhelm the addicted person with a lot of choices. The choice is simple and it’s a matter of “Yes” or “No.”

The same holds true with spiritual guidance. Sometimes the first step for an addicted person—and this depends upon factors like personality, personal history with faith, and family background—is a trusted spiritual counselor. This can be a chaplain, minister, or even a person of trust that is willing to hold confidences.

Staying involved in a loving way is supportive and not enabling. It is critical that you are willing to go the distance; whatever that may be.