Addiction Recovery - Relationships in Recovery

8 Ways Families Can Help An Addicted Family Member

Alcohol & drug addiction is a disease which can tear families apart. There are ways to reach out and help positively, though. Contact The Forge today

8 Ways Families Can Help An Addicted Family Member

Table of contents

Written by

Brian MooreBrian Moore

Content Writer

Reviewed by

Jeremy ArztJeremy Arzt

Chief Clinical Officer

April 18, 2022

The Forge Recovery Center

Addiction can creep up on any person – regardless of shape, age, sex, color, orientation, or occupation. From the wealthiest, most affluent families to struggling, financially down-trodden neighborhoods – addiction is everywhere. 

However, when considering the bigger picture, substance dependency is only one part of the problem. The other one is a lack of support, acknowledgment, and understanding from the families of those who struggle with addiction. 

Many young men and women who go through addiction during their lives experience detachment, abandonment, disappointment, and deliberate distance from the ones they hold closest and dearest. That’s why addiction is anything but an individual’s problem – it is an illness that grips and affects the entire family.

Individuals struggling with addiction and dependency go through multiple phases before they can successfully recover – but it is also the way the family behaves during this time that has a massive impact on the duration and extent of addiction. How family members react, speak, and tackle the problem can have a lasting – even permanent – impact on family dynamics and relationships.

Obsession and Defensive Behavior: The Core Issues 

The problem usually begins when both family members and the individual struggling with addiction remain stubbornly defensive about why they behave the way they do. The person dealing with substance dependency will always find reasons to justify seeking the next high or their irrational actions. Meanwhile, the family members might blame the cause of addiction and the entire situation for why they are irritable, angry, or confrontational.

Both parties, in their own world, feel like victims. They take turns with their outbursts, emotional episodes, and often an exchange of harsh words that can prove to be damaging in the long run. In this way, both parties refuse to take responsibility and act like the bigger person willing to solve the issue at hand in a mature, rational manner.

For as long as both remain stubborn, defensive, and obsessive, the problem remains and continues to grow larger with each day that passes. There may be times when those struggling with addiction try to quit, but the lack of support and understanding from family members may force them to start seeking the substance again. 

8 Ways To Help A Family Member In Crisis

There is no winning when the greatest adversary is substance addiction. Within the family, everyone suffers, struggles, feels guilty, experiences episodes of despair and defeat, tries and fails to reconcile, attempts to change behavior, and finally goes to sleep at night feeling hopeless.

During these tough testing times, the most important thing for family members is that the individual struggling with addiction needs helps. This help can be offered in eight ways, and as a family, you can start by:

  • Accepting and acknowledging the issue

  • Being patient through the episodes and phases that come with substance abuse

  • Be gentle, non-abrasive, and comforting with words and questions

  • Be supportive and encouraging when it comes to dealing with therapy, medication, and treatments

  • Initiate and maintain conversations to help the struggling family member speak their mind, thoughts, and opinions instead of keeping them bottled in

  • Steer clear of raised voices and hostile arguments – your home should be a place of comfort, peace, and safety for a family member struggling with addiction

  • Maintain healthy routines, habits, and lifestyles at home

  • Consider therapy if you consistently feel like a victim or feel the need to let out your own emotions, especially if they have the ability to upset someone else at home

Addiction To Drugs & Alcohol Can Seem Like A Hopeless Situation, But There Is Always Hope

Before you alter your behavior, things may seem hopeless and grim. The environment within your home can continue to get drearier and more unbearable with each day that passes. However, even though this may seem like the darkest of situations, there is always hope.

Addiction robs an individual of peace, sanity, and self-control. It affects career, family relationships, love lives, education, and social standing. Keep this in mind next time you feel like blaming your loved one and their addiction for destroying the environment of your otherwise happy home. The situation may not be in their control anymore. 

Dealing with a million thoughts and experiencing devastating effects of their addiction in every aspect of their lives, individuals struggling with substance abuse may already be filled to the brim with anger, disappointment, guilt, and shame without you loading some more onto them.

Open your mind, your home, and your arms to help your loved ones recover – not just from their addiction but from a damaged family relationship. 

Addiction doesn’t just affect the individual struggling; it affects the entire family. The best course of action when addiction has affected the family is to find healing together. The Forge Recovery Center is home to some of the most skilled professionals in addiction recovery and treatment. We focus not just on the most effective treatment therapies but also relationship dynamics that can help our patients recover faster, better, and without chances of relapse.

Addiction isn’t one person’s problem – it is a condition that affects and tests every member of the family. If you are committed to helping your loved ones recover, you’ll need to make a few changes, and that’s what The Forge is here for.

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