Family members experience fear, anxiety, stress, anger and a host of other unpleasant emotions when they have to watch a loved one suffer from addiction. When someone you care about is unable to stop drinking or using drugs, it causes feelings of powerlessness. The good news is that you do not have to bear the weight of the stress and responsibility alone. Sometimes, supporting an addict is a team effort.
With the help of a support group and a little faith, tough love and patience, you may be able to guide your loved one on the path to recovery.
Why Family Members of Addicts Should Join Support Groups
If someone in your immediate or extended family is suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction, don’t think you have to help them on your own. Substance use disorder — the medical term for addiction — is a chronic disease. You wouldn’t try to treat other chronic diseases like heart disease without help. Check with rehabilitation centers or local law enforcement agencies in your area to see if they can make a referral for you. A family therapy program at Gateway Foundation could provide the support you need.
Our Illinois rehab treatment programs include therapies such as:
- 12-step recovery
- Residential, PHP, IOP and OP rehab programs
- Mindfulness sobriety
- Withdrawal management
- Certified dual diagnosis treatment
- Medication-assisted treatment
- Cognitive-behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy
How to Support a Loved One With Addiction
It’s imperative to lean on the expertise and understanding of a support group when you’re trying to pull a loved one out of addiction. To further support your loved one, you can take certain steps at home to keep them on the right track, including:
- Educating yourself about the disease: Substance use disorder is a misunderstood disease that comes with a lot of stigma. People with drug or alcohol addictions may have decided to try the drug or take the first sip, but continuing to abuse substances was not their choice. Often, individuals with addictions are unable to stop, despite their best intentions and their families’. Addicts who are unable to stop abusing drugs or alcohol may possess a variety of risk factors that can lead to the development of brain disease.
- Avoiding stigma: Stigma and shame can hurt people with addictions as well as their families. As a family member, you may be tempted to seek isolation to avoid embarrassment or other shameful emotions. Fortunately, you don’t have to. Isolation and disgrace associated with substance abuse can lead to poor communication and may cause more harm than help. It’s better to face addiction head-on and seek treatment for your loved one.
- Helping but not enabling: While it’s essential to help a loved one come out of addiction, it’s just as critical to set boundaries. Provide love, but do not let anyone take advantage of your kindness. Support group meetings and services can provide that extra leg of support.
How to Choose the Best Support Group for Your Family
As a parent or family member of an addict, choosing a quality support group can seem like a hefty task. To start in the right direction, try the following steps:
- Try different groups: Just like people, meetings tend to have personalities of their own. If one doesn’t suit you, try a different one.
- Become engaged: To get the most out of any support group, make sure you attend regularly and participate honestly and sincerely.
- Don’t give up: With each new day, there is hope.
If you are a parent or loved one of an addict, know that you are not alone. Contact Gateway Foundation today to join a support group or get more information on the family support services we offer.