Recovery for addicts & alcoholics
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Help For The Family

When   a   loved   one   becomes   addicted   to   a   dangerous   substance,   regardless   of   whether   it   is   illicit,   the   whole   family   must   carry   the   burden. From   children   and   marriage   to   finances,   trust   and   inner   family   relationships,   substance   abuse   affects   all   areas   of   the   user’s   life.   Of   these areas,   perhaps   none   is   affected   more   than   family   relationships.   In   this   entry,   we   will   offer   up   coping   tips   to   those   with   addicted   loved ones. Get   to   know   the   addiction    –   Drug   and   alcohol   abuse   alters   the   nervous   system   dramatically.   As   a   result,   the   addiction   must   be viewed   as   a   chronic   disease,   not   a   choice.   Though   the   initial   experimentation   may   have   been   a   decision,   once   the   body   has   become physically   dependent,   the   user   loses   all   choice   in   the   matter;   viewing   the   substance   as   necessary   for   comfort   and   survival.   This understanding can help families view the addict in a new light, while taking steps to ensure that proper treatment is obtained. Set   your   boundaries   –   Family   members   will   often   attempt   to   help   the   addict   by   way   of   financial   and   emotional   means.   However,   it is   important   to   understand   which   actions   address   the   issue,   and   which   ones   escalate   it.   Chronically   addicted   individuals   will   often use   friends   and   family   members   to   their   advantage   in   an   effort   to   maintain   the   addiction.   Setting   boundaries   in   this   area   will provide protection to both you and the addict alike. Do   not   enable    –   Enabling   refers   to   any   behavior   or   action   that   supports   the   addiction,   such   as   monetary   aid,   hiding   the   addiction from authorities, housing, making excuses or being in denial. Locate   and   attend   a   family   support   group    –   Al-Anon   or   Nar-Anon   that   provides   support   to   family   members   struggling   with   an addicted   loved   one   can   be   very   helpful.   These   organizations   can   offer   valuable   insight,   information   and   a   forum   to   discuss concerns and experiences with other individuals dealing with similar circumstances. Consider   individual   or   family   therapy    –   There   are   a   number   of   psychologists   who   specialize   in   helping   those   with   drug   addicted loved   ones.   Dealing   with   an   addicted   loved   one   can   cause   a   great   deal   of   confusion   and   pain.   Communicating   your   feelings   in individual   or   group   sessions   with   a   licensed   professional   provides   you   the   opportunity   to   express   your   sadness,   anger   and   worry   in a safe and supportive environment. Confront   the   addict    –   Though   it   may   be   scary,   it   is   a   necessary   step   on   the   road   to   recovery   for   both   you   and   the   addict   alike.   Be careful   to   voice   concern   and   care,   not   blame,   or   this   may   further   withdraw   the   addict.   If   your   loved   one   appears   unresponsive   to the idea of treatment, an intervention may be worth considering.