Addressing the Problem
According to a Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration survey, almost 20 million adult Americans are struggling with a substance use disorder. And as we pointed out last week, the coronavirus pandemic is only making it worse. Substance use disorder wreaks havoc not only on the lives of those afflicted but the lives of family, friends, coworkers – everyone they’re involved with. While these folks didn’t choose to be part of a journey to recovery, with a lot of willingness and a little extra knowledge, they can be powerful agents of change. Studies show that chances for a successful recovery increase exponentially when close family and friends are involved in the process. If your loved one is suffering from a substance use disorder, here are some steps you can take to address the problem and get them the treatment they need.
Remember: It’s a Disease
It’s difficult, but it’s important to keep in mind that substance use disorder is a disease. This can be especially hard for family and long-term friends who see flashes of the way things were before the addiction in their loved one. You need to remember, though, that this person is not in charge anymore. Substance use disorders have both environmental and genetic components and one bad decision can activate them. Once that happens, that addiction takes control and rewires the brain to make consumption of a particular substance its number one priority. Understanding this is critical. When we make it personal, we risk acting with anger and impatience, which can make the problem worse. Remembering that you’re dealing with a disease makes it much easier to come from a place of compassion.
Draw the Line
While it’s important to approach this disease with compassion, we’re not suggesting that you coddle or “save” your loved one. This is a good time to point out the distinction between helping and enabling. Enabling are those actions that appear to alleviate some of your loved one’s problems but, in actuality, are serving to worsen their substance use disorder. This includes lying or covering an addict’s behavior and prioritizing their needs over your own. Rather, set some firm boundaries with your loved one and let them deal with the consequences of their actions.
Plan Out a Course of Action
Whether it’s twelve-step meetings or residential treatment, presenting choices to your loved one and showing them the way could very well be the glimmer of hope that they need. Take some time to learn about what treatment options are available. Educate your loved one about these plans of attack and make sure they know that they’re there when they’re ready.
Real Courage Means Asking for Help
Ocean Recovery has been successfully treating substance use disorders since 2002. And we’ll be here when your loved one decides it’s time for a new way of living. With facilities in sunny Newport Beach, California, Ocean Recovery offers a holistic, evidence-based approach to addiction treatment. This includes individual and group sessions, cognitive and dialectic behavioral therapies, nutritional therapy, yoga, and more. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or eating disorders, please consider giving us a call today. Real courage means asking for help. Ocean Recovery is ready to answer.