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  • Families Getting Support

    For friends and family of people with substance problems. Connect with others here to share support and advice today.
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    Community Builder
    Posts: 111
    Joined: Tue Aug 18, 2020 9:54 pm

    Families Getting Support

    Thu Nov 19, 2020 7:27 pm

    How do I help a loved one struggling with addiction?

    It’s a question that I’ve asked myself, and a question that not only comes up in a professional setting, but also one that generally presents itself in passing conversation. You might be at a café, the pub or even getting your car serviced… How can I get this person to see the error of their ways, and make positive changes in their lives? And, how can they not see how they’re hurting me, their mates and their family? Why don’t they just stop?

    The questions are all phrased a bit differently, but they all want the same thing; which is to help a person who seems incapable of helping themselves. The questions also show a person who is directly affected by the behaviour of others, and indicating that they are at a loss on how to help this person.

    Some people want to smother the person with affection, and basically love them into making the right change. Sure, that can work, but when the loving isn’t working… what do I do? Sometimes people are terrified of pushing this person away, which might lead to them increasing their substance use, and a further spiral out of control. Possibly, but we don’t know that’s going to happen. If what you’ve tried in the past hasn’t worked, you need to make a change in your approach, and you need to be adequately supported as to which direction you should move.

    Doing nothing and allowing the behaviour to continue would be regarded as ‘enabling’. Basically, you would be making it too comfortable for this person to continue their behaviour. The goal is always, how can I motivate this person to make a change, and how can I best support them through the process? The answer may involve putting boundaries in place and creating expectations. It may be saying you cannot use or be under the influence in the house, or not giving them money which is likely going to be spent on drugs or alcohol. It’s important to check in with people you trust, and professionals to make sure you’re moving in the right direction. Be open to new ideas and approaches, and find someone to help you stick to your plan, whilst managing your feelings and experiences during a difficult time.

    What strategies have worked for you?

    How do you cope whilst trying to maintain boundaries and also love someone whose behaviour is hard to understand?
    2 x
    Peer Worker
    Posts: 192
    Joined: Tue Jun 01, 2021 3:14 pm

    Re: Families Getting Support

    Mon Jun 21, 2021 9:32 pm

    Really important topic this one @tacocat and such a difficult space to navigate. The word that resonated most for me reading this was boundaries. For friends and families it comes down to boundaries and just where they sit with them.

    I've had it asked so many times........how much more do I put up with??? The only person who can answer that question is the person asking it. My response is usually "How much more can YOU take?" That's the thing...........for each family the answer is different and there really is no right answer. That's where the boundaries come into play. How much more can you give before it starts to have serious impacts on your wellbeing or that of other family members? Or the friendship group? The questions stop being about when the person using will stop and start to become about how much more you can give.

    Some people need to be kicked out of home and left to fend for themselves, to hit rock bottom before they start the climb back up. Some people will use the fact that they can stay at home to increase their use because there are no real consequences to whether they continue using or not. Both options are excrutiating for families, have the ability to tear relationships apart and may just fracture familial units forever. Simple fact is that until the person living in addiction decides they want to make change then there won't be any large scale positive changes.

    I think what's most important is that you leave the door open to support the person living with addiction when you enforce your boundaries. If they're asked to leave the home you can let them know that you'll support them when they're ready to seek help but whilst they continue to live in active addiction they'll need to do it elsewhere. It's important for them to know that the help and support is there when they're serious about accessing help. It's not shutting the door on them completely or giving up on them, its protecting yourself while they come around...........hoever long it takes. In the long run it may help to maintain some form of connection..........and connection is vital to recovery.

    There is no easy answer and this is why families need support to. All the focus goes onto the person using but no matted which choices you make and what the outcomes are then families need support too. If that's a counsellor, psychologist, GP or a peer support group for families it doesn't matter............you need to look after yourself as well. There are great peer groups out there such as AlAnon and NarcAnon for families of those suffering through addiction as well as Family Drug Help.

    So get support and maintain your boundaries for your own health and safety and that of you friends and family
    3 x

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