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Substance Abuse: 3 Things to do to Help a Recovering Loved One

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MedicationIn Utah, a group of recovering substance abusers, their family, and other concerned citizens held a demonstration in front of the state capitol. The event last March 6, 2015, was a show of support for legislation that would increase access to treatments for substance abuse and mental illness, as well as more affordable healthcare.

Many of the attendees were recovering from substance abuse or mental illness, or relatives of people who have fought such battles. This just shows relatives are always important in an individual’s fight against substance abuse.

So, what role exactly do you have to play when helping a loved one with an addiction problem?

1. Talk to Them

Get the conversation started, but avoid making them come off as the bad guys. Do this by avoiding words that carry stigma, such as ‘addict’, ‘clean’, and ‘enabler’, among others. Help them get on the right path by being careful with words.

2. Rescue When They Hit the Bottom

It might seem counterintuitive to let them hit rock bottom first, but letting them experience the full consequence of their substance abuse problem is an effective way to keep them from falling off the wagon.

Utah-based drug and alcohol rehab clinic Steps Recovery Center emphasizes that intervention and detox should be done at the right time for greater chances at success. The greater their awareness of the bad things that come with the problem, the more reason for them to stop.

3. Give Tough Love

A person with a substance abuse problem cannot keep promises not because they don’t intend to, but because they’re weak when it comes to commitments. As such, don’t extract promises from them.

Also, don’t make idle threats. Threats are as meaningless as the promises a person with a substance abuse disorder makes. Say what you mean and mean what you say. It may be tough love, but it’s a badly-needed push to get them started on the right path.

The burden of addiction is not limited to the person with the abuse problem. Family members also share a part of the burden, be it the need to have their loved one treated or the need to keep the substance abuse problem from worsening.

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