You may have noticed our resource page titled “Stage an Intervention”. If you’ve really read it you’ll know we don’t really recommend you give an intervention, at least not an “As Seen On TV” intervention.
People with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or people struggling with use are first and foremost people. So think about how you would feel if your family, friends or coworkers confronted you and told you there was something wrong with you and you had to get help. It wouldn’t feel very good right? How would you react in that situation?
The thing is, most of us wouldn’t react well to that situation at all. No matter how well we go about it, being confronted about our ‘flaws’ (according to someone else’s perception) is just going to send us running in the other direction. So what do we do? What do we do when we have a loved one who we know is struggling and we want to help them? Well we have some suggestions. All the things we recommend below are evidence based practices that will give you a better chance of helping your loved one. Whether you implement these suggestions or not, the most important thing to remember is; this is your loved-one, just show them love.
How To Help
First and foremost, help yourself. Learn about Substance Use Disorder, learn about the right way to use language around SUDs so that you aren’t making your loved one feel worse when you bring it up, and learn about treatments and the different SUD resources in your area. In your research you will likely learn that SUDs is in fact a disease that is incredibly difficult to overcome and it is not your loved one’s fault, or anyone else’s, that they are struggling. Hopefully, by being enlightened by your research you’ll learn to not judge your loved one and how to talk to them without further stigmatizing them.
One of the many barriers to recovery is the stigma surrounding Substance Use Disorder. There is a perception in our society that being in active use is amoral or somehow decreases the individual’s value. But of course it isn’t and doesn’t, as you have learned by this point, your loved one is still the person they have always been and they are valuable and important. This is why it’s important for you to learn how to avoid stigmatizing language. We don’t want to make our loved one’s feel worse in our attempt to help them feel better.
Next, consider joining a support group yourself. There are lots of groups for family members and in them you can chat with people going through the same thing you are. You’ll have support and a group of people to learn from about what works and what doesn’t when trying to help a person struggling with SUDs. Plus you’ll be modeling the healthy behavior you’re hoping your loved one will pursue.
THE OPPOSITE OF ADDICTION IS CONNECTION
Now you are armed with the knowledge, understanding and a support system to be able to actually help your loved one. Next start simply spending time with them. Social support is an important part of recovery; people are more likely to use when they are alone. While you’re spending time with them, remember to not judge them, avoid stigmatizing language, and just listen. SUDs doesn’t occur in a vacuum and your loved one is probably suffering far more than you may realize. Being able to talk with you may be an immense help. Reinforce that recovery is possible in your conversations with your loved one and model that life without alcohol or drugs can be fun and satisfying. Your loved one may feel as though they’re in an inescapable situation and that there is no point in trying to heal. Help them to realize that they can escape and that there is a point with your words and your actions.
REINFORCE A HEALTHY LIFESTYLE
Encourage your loved one to participate in healthy habits. Perhaps your time together could be spent going for walks or cooking a healthy meal. If your loved one is ready to start finding their recovery, help them find the resources that they think will help them. If they aren’t ready, be patient. It might get incredibly difficult but by being there for them and showing them kindness you will increase their likelihood of recovering.
When your loved one does start their recovery journey be prepared to continue being patient. For many individuals in recovery setbacks and slips are just a part of the recovery journey but if you are there by their side telling them they can do it and that they are cared for they are much more likely to succeed.
In summary, if you want to help your loved one, show them love.
If you or someone you know is in need of Recovery services or support contact us now.
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