Having a family member succumb to addiction is a very challenging experience. Many people find it hard to accept the reality that this is, in fact, happening to them because it is not easy to see a loved one struggle during this difficult period. After the shock and dismay wear off, it is normal to feel helpless and confused on what to do to make the situation better.
If this is happening to you for the very first time, you are probably cautious about what to do and you are looking for ways on how to deal with the situation. It is important to remember that every person, situation, and relationship is unique. What works for some people may not necessarily work for you. However, there are some tips that you could try out to make coping less difficult.
Avoid the blame game
What did I do wrong? Whose fault is this? Could I have done any better?
It is human nature to find the cause of whatever is happening around the world. This is also probably the reason why people always try to find someone to blame when something goes wrong. With the discovery that a family member has substance abuse issues, do not blame yourself, your addicted family member or another person for the addiction.
There is possibly a wide range of reasons why the addiction took place; however, pinning the blame on someone will not make the situation any better. Believing that someone is to blame will only brew feelings of resentment and could further damage the family relationship.
What is needed at this moment is understanding and support. Make your addicted family members feel that you are supportive of their recovery rather than focusing on the negative and what was in the past.
Detach with love
In an ideal world, a family member with an addiction problem goes into rehab with your support, completes recovery, and then everything goes back to normal. However, this is not always the case. It is possible that your loved one will refuse to go into recovery, will suffer from a relapse multiple times, or will choose to actively continue substance addiction.
Remember that it is not your responsibility to fix everything for your family members. You have to question yourself whether your support is still helping or is it already be enabling your addicted loved one. In these situations, detaching with love is something you can do.
Detaching with love means taking a step back from the situation emotionally and financially. While you can still love and respect your family members, you don’t need to feel responsible for the bad decisions and mistakes that they will commit. Accept that their addiction is a reality that is beyond your control and you are not being selfish by putting yourself first.
Having an addicted family member can be emotionally and physically draining. Feeling hurt, worried, resentful, or angry all the time can take a toll on a person’s health.
This is especially true for many parents and spouses of people with substance addiction. They often put all their energies towards their loved ones, without realizing that they are already forgetting to take care of themselves. They often think that prioritizing their own needs and wants is a selfish thing to do, as there are other more important things to think about.
If you are guilty of doing this, keep in mind that it is essential that you take care of yourself first. As the saying goes, “You cannot pour from an empty cup”. Practicing self-care is important for your general well being. When you start to let go of yourself, this is not benefiting anyone as it could only cause further problems in the future.
You can practice self-care by making sure that you are eating well, exercising, sleeping adequately, and doing things that will give you momentary happiness. While it is not always easy to find happiness when a loved one is suffering, you have to remember that you cannot let another person’s decisions affect your own life.
Join a support group
Many family members experience fear, conflicts, and distress because they lack the understanding of what is going on with their loved ones. They become anxious and this starts affecting their lives.
If you feel the same anxiety, a good step is to join a support group like Al-Anon, which is composed of people whose family members are dealing with addiction.
Hearing other people’s stories and sharing your experiences can be a form of therapy to help you cope with the situation. This can also help you find a support network of people who also understand what you’re going through. You can also attend family counseling that could help you rebuild trust in your relationships.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Lighthouse Treatment Center today.