Written by Chinelo Onwane

When a loved one is addicted ,what are the things that can help lift that person and yourself?

These are the rules to Never Break When Dealing with Addiction:

1. Don’t forget:

Addiction changes the loved one. When they start taking drugs or alcohol, or even engaging in addictive behavior, their brain undergoes changes. This affects their motivations, drives, pleasures, behaviors, and decisions. This is especially true for substances, wherein the body and behavior undergoes marked changes almost immediately. Because of all these, you can expect that they will behave differently, and even in the most unexpected and unpredictable ways that even defy logic.

2. Adjust how you interact.

Because of the many drug-induced changes that happen to them soon after they take drugs and even the drastic changes that happen to them over time, you have to be on your toes. These changes can be overwhelming, but it could help to view them as someone with a mental illness–after all, substance abuse disorder is indeed a clinical condition.

3. Manage your expectations.

As someone who has an addicted loved one, you may feel emotionally vulnerable as you get manipulated, deceived, betrayed, angered, and hurt. You may also feel lost as you don’t know what to do. Your addicted child has turned into someone you don’t recognize anymore. What you can do is to watch your expectations as so many changes spiral into chaos and you’re suddenly driven out of your comfort zone. By doing this, you don’t set yourself up for further disappointment, which can lead you to do things that can even make the situation worse.

4. Keep communication lines open.

Addiction can turn your loved one into liars, that is for sure. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop talking or believing in them. While you can’t take their word at face value, you still have to keep communicating with them. Avoid blame and always opt for positive criticism.

Their denial will be strong as you try to point out their problem. However, this doesn’t mean you should give up on communication. Behind all the chaos is the person you love and who loves you back. In the right time and with the right words, you can get through to them so they can get the help they need.

5. Take care of yourself.

It takes a strong person to deal with an addicted loved one. The trials and challenges are never easy, but you have to be strong for your sake too. Remember to also keep a close watch on your own well-being

As someone who loves and cares about the addict in your life, your role is to steer them in the right direction. And this means you have to help them make a change. You can’t do this by trying to control them. However, you can help them realize their problem and the necessity for them to seek intervention, treatment and recovery.

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