Addictions: Help with Addictions

Posted on July 1, 2011

Numerous families deal with addiction each day and know the hurt and pain associated with addictions in families.  Most families are touched by an addiction and recovery at some point in the family lifecycle, either by an immediate or extended family member, and struggle to know how to help the addicted individual and themselves.

Numerous types of addictions exist and each type brings unique challenges to family situations.  Alcohol and drug abuse, gambling, online gaming, food addictions, and even work addictions are a few of the many types of addictions that touch families.

The most difficult piece of addiction in a family is not knowing how to help with addiction.  Unfortunately, until the individual is ready for help and recovery, no amount of encouragement or treatment will help with addiction and recovery.  However, here is a list of suggestions to guide your interactions with an addicted family member as you show your care and support.

  1. Try to understand where the addiction originated and the struggle the addicted person is also having with the addiction.
  2. Make no promises.  Be real with your desires and try to avoid bribing the addicted family member to get better.
  3. Avoid preaching at and scolding the addicted family member.  Addictions often come with increased levels of shame and guilt.  Preaching and scolding will only make the shame and guilt worse.
  4. Show genuine interest in the addicted family member.  Ask them what it is like to be dependent on a substance.
  5. Be aware of treatment resources so you may suggest them when the individual is ready to seek help.
  6. Know your own limitations when interacting with the addicted family member.  Don’t assume you know everything about their experience with addiction.

Addiction is a complicated illness that is not easily understood.  Many addictions take years to heal and some addictions are never healed.  Try some of the above suggestions when dealing with addiction in your family and see what happens.  If you continuously struggle when dealing with the addiction, I encourage you to speak with a counselor in your area.

Kristie L. Watts, LMFTA

Kristie Watts is a Marriage and Family Therapy Resident at Groff and Associates Counseling.  Her passions are grief and loss, parent/child relationships, and pregnancy related struggles.  If you are interested in seeing a counselor and think that Kristie may be a good fit, please contact her at kristie@groffandassociates.com .

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NzE6Imh0dHA6Ly9ncm9mZmFuZGFzc29jaWF0ZXMuY29tL3dwLWNvbnRlbnQvd29vX3VwbG9hZHMvMy1ncm9mZl9oZWFkZXIucG5nIjt9PC9saT48L3VsPg==