helping a loved one with addiction

It can be difficult to navigate a relationship you have with someone suffering from addiction. The truth is that addiction turns people into someone else, often muting parts of their personality in pursuit of drugs or alcohol. At times it can be scary and confusing attempting to interact with someone under the influence and battling substance used disorder, or SUD.

SUD covers both addiction to drugs and alcohol and is a chronic condition that requires the right support and treatment to overcome. Part of treatment is helping those close to the individual address their feelings about the situation and the impact it’s had on them. It’s important that you consider how your loved one’s addiction has affected you so you can maintain healthy boundaries to keep your relationship safe during these challenging times.

Support but Don’t Enable Them

Loving someone with SUD is like learning how to interact with someone on an entirely different level. While you want to do whatever you can to make them happy in life, what they need most doesn’t always align with what the addiction in their brain is telling them. Examples of enabling would be giving them rides to acquire more drugs or alcohol or financially supporting them through paying their bills or bailing them out of jail.

Whenever you enable them in these ways, they learn that they can continue the same behavior since you’ll come to their rescue. What they don’t learn is that their actions do indeed have consequences, you’ve simply been dealing with them instead. You may even start neglecting yourself in order to take care of them as they start to need more and more help as their addiction worsens. It often starts out with small favors before quickly building into you handling nearly all of their normal responsibilities.

This dynamic can happen in any relationship, but is more common for spouses, a child and parent or an immediate sibling. The sense of needing to protect those close to use is strong and can quickly blur out logic in the pursuit of our loved one’s happiness.

How To Change the Dynamic

Putting an end to enabling is one of the most impactful ways you can help your loved one in their recovery from addiction. No more making excuses for them or cleaning up their mistakes. It can be difficult to take this stance and stick to it, but preserving what you can of the relationship is only possible when it’s done on equal grounds. Your loved one needs to be the one to face the consequences they’ve created for themselves.

In some cases, the consequences your loved one faces will be drastic, but remember that none of it is due to you. You’ve attempted to help support them while they figure things out, but it’s impossible to maintain that balance over time. Communicate to them that you’re concerned about them but you can’t continue being responsible for them and their actions. You have to take care of yourself in order to be able to help them, and a codependent relationship built on enabling isn’t how you achieve that.

During the conversation, try to suggest they seek out professional help with their condition so that they can take back control of their life from the grasp of addiction. For some, the idea of sobriety isn’t something they’ve considered for many years. Today though, treatment is more accessible than ever with extra coverage from insurance plans across the board.

Finding Help for Your Loved One

The world of addiction treatment has come a long way over the years, with FDA-approved medication-assisted treatment (MAT) now helping make the hardest parts of rehab easier to manage than ever before. Guests at America’s Rehab Campus all receive an individualized treatment plan that matches their detox needs and recovery goals. We’re committed to the long-term recovery of your loved ones and equip them with everything they need to maintain their sobriety well after completing treatment.

With proper relapse prevention support and luxurious resort-style facilities, treatment at ARC is both comprehensive and comfortable. If your loved one is in need of help overcoming their addiction to drugs or alcohol, we encourage you to reach out to the ARC team today. We can help you schedule intake, verify insurance or answer questions you have about the process before you get started.