Dealing with addiction is difficult especially if the person who is an addict is someone close to you. Often, the family and friends of the person with a substance or alcohol abuse problem find themselves torn between giving in to their loved one’s requests and
“tough love” that experts consider more beneficial for the patient.
According to addiction rehabilitation specialist Dr. Maher Soudah, going against instinctive love is often the best course of action for an addict’s loved ones. This is because the substance or alcohol changes a person to the point of becoming unrecognizable to his peers. At this point, it is also unsurprising if the individual takes advantage of his loved ones only to feed his addiction.
Taking this into consideration, Dr. Soudah and his expert team at the Kaiser Wellness Center listed down six important rules that the family and friends of an addict should never break if they wish to help their loved one recover from his condition.
Rule #1: Don’t Be Naive
Being naive means easily trusting in a person’s words and promises. Most of the time, addicted individuals use this on their loved ones to get what they want because of the affection other people have for them.
Dr. Soudah explained that this is one of the most common reasons why addiction is not cured as easily as many hoped. Because of this, the specialist deemed it necessary to remove naivety entirely to successfully rehabilitate the addicted person.
Rule #2: Be Observant With Actions, Not Words
“Action speaks louder than words” is probably the best phrase to remember when dealing with addiction. Even before confirming that your loved one is an addict, it is important to be observant about what he does and not what he says, as addicts often say things they need to say to get what they want.
On top of that, experts like Dr. Maher Soudah, the director of Kaiser Wellness Center, also explained that looking for actions can actually help the family and friends of the person to determine the root of his problem as the addiction is oftentimes a result of a deeper dilemma.
Rule #3: Don’t Yield During Confrontations
Confrontations are common when dealing with addiction. Sometimes, it can be difficult for someone to get into a verbal argument and even a physical altercation with the person they love because of his addiction problem.
While it may be counter-intuitive, staying strong and not giving in during confrontations would be beneficial for their rehabilitation from alcohol or substance abuse. It is also important to never yield and just agree with them whenever they deny being addicted, especially if the signs strongly suggest that they are.
Rule #4: Keep An Open Communication
Dealing with addiction can be too much for family and friends of an addict but it is important that they keep communication lines open. As Dr. Soudah explained, dismissing a friend or family member with an addiction problem might cause them to go further down a spiral. They might blame their addiction on situations and even other people, but it is important for relatives and peers to continue digging until the real reason for his addiction is unearthed.
Experts at the Kaiser Wellness Center led by Dr. Maher Soudah highly recommend asking specific and open-ended questions to help the patient be able to fully explain the situation.
Rule #5: Be Supportive But Don’t ‘Enable’
No matter what case it might be, it is important that loved ones should stay supportive. However, the family and friends of an addict should be able to determine the difference between a “supporter” and an “enabler.”
Based on expert advice from the Kaiser Wellness Center, being supportive means doing what is necessary for the recovery of the patient while “enabling” simply allows them to become more exposed to the substance they are addicted to.
Rule #6: Keep A Close Eye On Money
In relation to Rule No. five, make sure to keep an eye on money trails if you are someone who offers financial support for your addicted loved one. Do not give them money for anything that isn’t important for their survival, else you’re “enabling” his addiction. Also, make sure to secure all your cash and anything else that can be converted into it (jewelry, real estate properties, etc.) so that the person with abuse problem won’t have any means to finance his addiction.