Health Relationships

Coping With Addiction in Your Family

Many Americans struggle with drug and alcohol addictions. If this problem affects your family, it can leave you feeling helpless and alone, but there are ways to help your family member cope and stay (or become) sober.


Take Care of Yourself


Some addicts try to draw family members into drug or alcohol use. Resist the temptation; physically get away from the addict if you must. Although the addict may not tempt you, he or she will make you feel angry, helpless, scared, and confused. She may accuse you of being wrong or crazy for saying a problem exists. He may lie, telling you what you want to hear. Be on guard, express your emotions healthfully, and maintain routines that help you take care of yourself.


Choose the Right Program


Your addicted loved one will probably need long-term treatment. The National Institute on Drug Abuse recommends multifaceted approach to treatment. The addict may argue that she can quit on her own; most addicts can’t. If there is not a comprehensive program nearby, ask doctors and counselors for assistance in finding one.


Support the Addict


This does not mean condoning his or her behavior. It does mean letting the addict know you support recovery. Tell the addict you love him, he is worth something, and he can beat the addiction. Remind the addict of her goals and dreams, and reassure her you’ll help her reach them. Allow addicts to express their emotions, ask questions, and vent – as long as it’s constructive.

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