How Can You Help Your Loved One?
When someone in your life is struggling with drugs or alcohol, it is only natural to want to help. It is also natural to wonder just how you can help.
After all, a person with a substance use disorder is often unpredictable, unwilling to listen, and unable to make clear decisions that might help them reclaim their sobriety and their life. It might seem impossible to find a way to be helpful under those circumstances.
Despite that sense of uncertainty (and the sense of frustration that might well accompany it), the good news is that there are, in fact, ways you can help. And that is true at every stage of the process from helping your loved one get into treatment, supporting them while they are undergoing that treatment, and providing significant ongoing support once the recovery journey is underway.
Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can be helpful to a person struggling with a substance use disorder.
Let Them Know They Can Come to You
A person in the grips of a substance use disorder is often feeling a lot of emotions—and none of them are necessarily pleasant or helpful. For example, they may feel a significant amount of shame or embarrassment about their situation. That might cause them to withdraw from friends, family, and other people in their lives.
So one of the most powerful things you can do is to let the struggling individual know that you are available to help and support them without judgment. Sharing that may not—indeed, probably won’t—lead to an immediate change, but it can open a door that might make it easier for your loved one to make up their mind to get help.
Be Prepared to Help with the Details of Getting into Treatment
When someone is taking drugs or drinking to excess, it becomes extremely difficult to think clearly about the steps necessary to get help. And that means there may well be an opportunity for you to help with the details so that a sense of frustration doesn’t keep your loved one from following through on their intention to pursue treatment.
That might involve a couple of things. First, you may need to help your friend or family member identify a fully certified inpatient treatment program that can provide the services they need. A person with impaired judgment may well have difficulty evaluating the quality of services on offer from any given program.
Second, your loved one may need help understanding the details of their insurance coverage. How they might pay for treatment is, of course, an important consideration.
Other details you might be able to help with include arranging (or even providing) childcare, arranging (or even providing) transportation to the treatment center, and arranging (or even providing) house and pet sitting services.
Take Advantage of Services Available to You
Many treatment centers offer family programs that can help you learn ways to support your loved one going forward. Family therapy may also be available—and extremely helpful.
You may learn any number of helpful things in such programs, but you will also be doing something else. You will be demonstrating to your loved one that you are willing to put in time and effort to help them maintain their sobriety after treatment comes to an end.
Knowing that they have a committed support system can make a world of difference to a newly sober person after treatment. And taking advantage of available services will provide you with resources and strategies for offering that support.
Help Your Loved One Succeed in Sobriety
As their recovery journey gets underway, your loved one will face any number of challenges. Sometimes, a supportive ear might be what they need. Or they might need a pep talk that reminds them of all the ways sobriety is better than the alternative. Other times, they might need a healthy meal, an exercise partner, someone to share a new hobby with, or someone who is willing to stick with them during a social obligation that might include temptations for them. There are lots of ways to help someone avoid the potholes that can upend their ongoing trip down the road of recovery.
Helping Your Loved One Is What We Do
At Bel Aire Recovery Center, we know how much you want to help your loved one regain their sobriety and move forward with their life. We are ready and able to help with that essential process. We are committed to providing evidence-based, compassionate care for those struggling with drugs or alcohol—and to providing support for those who love them.