An addict’s path to sober living is a hard, long road to trek and they should not go through it alone. It is always a difficult task to help someone shake off a dependency and more so, if that person, is friend or family. They will need all the help and support that you can give them. Having a compassionate circle of loved ones to lean on and embrace them in their most dire time of need is essential. It will not be the same for everyone. Some addiction will take more time and effort. But there are rules and guidelines that can be followed that will help you help someone that trapped in a cage that is addiction.
It will not be easy
Helping someone with an addiction is never a walk in the park and can end up hurting either of you in the process. It is good to note that as part of someone’s dependency, he/she will not be in total control of himself/herself. It is going to need a lot of tough love if you are going to pull someone towards sober living. Ultimately, breaking out of an addiction is a healing process for both the addict and the ones most closest to him.
Addicts will not always agree that there is something wrong with them. They will lie to themselves and you to feed their addiction. And they will need more than just convincing that they have a problem to make them realize the predicament they are on. Even after knowing that they are in an unhealthy codependency with a substance or activity, they may not want to change. They may not feel anything compelling about staying clean and sober living. And they may have wrongly figured that the only thing that would give them happiness in life is their addiction.
Admitting to one’s self that he has a problem means having to face the world that could judge them for their addiction. Society frowns upon the addicts and this could mean losing their job. They will also be scared of going to prison. Drug abuse is still a crime in most countries. And because of this, they especially would not want to open up to their loved ones. They will feel embarrassed and will not want to disappoint their friends and family.
If one decides to procure the help of professionals, the addict may feel awkward about it. It is never easy to share problems with people they do not know. There is also a case for feeling abandonment if you let someone else deal with your troubled friend or family. And the facilities that house them may feel like the same cage as the addiction they are trying to escape from in the first place.
The most difficult hurdle that helping an addict can pose in trying to help them is one that underlies. Addiction provides an escape from the world. The reason why they are running away may be more difficult to deal with than the addiction itself.
There is no magical spell or hypnosis technique to help someone who has a dependency. It will require a strong mind and soul to break free from these shackles. It is going to take more than just reasoning with them to help them end the dire cycle that they are in.
Take it a step at a time
It is not an insurmountable task, however. With enough courage, determination, willpower, and proper knowledge, your loved one can be pulled back on track. You have to take it a step at a time to ensure that your strides will affect that person for a long time.
Develop a relationship. To help someone in need, he/she has to have complete trust in you. He/she should believe that you want the best for him/her. He/she will have to be willing to be helped first before anything else and that can only happen if there is a relationship of trust between the two of you. It is vital that the person does not feel as though he/she has lost your trust for being in the predicament he/she is in. There is a big leap from knowing that someone wants the best for you and trusting them. And that is the leap that you have to take if you want to start the healing process.
You must avoid giving negative feedback. You cannot talk someone out of an addiction. If he/she feels as though he/she is being overly criticized, he/she may feel unloved and unworthy of being loved. It is also important to note that you do not have to raise your voice and exaggerate to get your point across. And insulting is definitely not going to help.
Empathy is important but addicts will see through the facade if you try to engage in the addictive behaviours yourself. Your sincerity will be questioned and will stain your relationship further. You should not have to declare that you know how he/she feels. Because the truth is you may not know that. Helping an addict means more work for the addict than for the person trying to help them.
If the addict is relying on addiction to relieve themselves of the pressure posed by their lives, pressuring him/her to quit his/her addiction is only going to do more bad than good. They will feel as trapped and decide to stay where they are if only to face the same punishment they are trying to escape from.
However, this does not mean that you have to condone their behavior. Find out the things that he/she can control and which ones he/she can’t. For instance, a heroin addict will not be able to control craving for heroin. But he/she can still be committed to a healthy lifestyle. You can talk to him about missing his therapy sessions, skipping a daily run, or declining to eat healthy food. These are sincere efforts that he/she can acknowledge.