Loving an Addict or Alcoholic: How to Help Them and Yourself

Loving someone who struggles with addiction can be difficult to navigate. It’s often difficult to know how to help them without enabling them or becoming co-dependent. If you’re looking for support, it’s hard to find. You might feel alone and isolated. Add to the mix the stigma surrounding addiction and alcoholism, and your situation can seem hopeless. Click here to learn some ways that might help your loved one who is struggling with addiction or alcoholism.

Be Supportive

You don’t have to do things beyond your ability to show them support. They need your support just as much as you do. Helping them with a program, getting them into a program, or even supporting them at their lowest might mean they do not turn to alcohol or drugs, but you can’t be there for them all the time. It is important to talk with them if they do so about the process and how you can support their recovery.

Even if the addict knows they want to recover, they often have trouble accepting that they are sick and that recovery is the best thing they can do. For some people, this is a process that takes months, or even years, to complete.

Have Compassion

Often, addicts and alcoholics believe that their addiction is a matter of choice. When they’re suddenly faced with the reality of their behavior, they lose trust in themselves and in the one in six of their peers who have struggled with drug or alcohol addiction in their lifetime. This combination of denial and despair can lead to suicide or desperation.

Do Not Be A Fixer

While it’s tempting to help someone with addiction or alcoholism, don’t be a “fixer.” Help them find a doctor, take them to the doctor, stop drinking, talk to a counselor or a sponsor, or many other things. Please don’t do it because it’s what you want to do. Be a help and not a hindrance. Your love for them should take a backseat to your concern for them and their well-being. You’re not helping them if you let them struggle, fail, and get back up.

Seek Counseling or Therapy

It’s hard to understand what you can do to help someone with addiction when they don’t realize they have a problem. Friends and family members often feel powerless and can feel overwhelmed and under-resourced to help the addict. You can seek counseling or therapy. This can be a good place to learn more about addiction and what you can do to help them.

Counseling and therapy are two of the most helpful ways to help someone who is struggling with addiction. Finding someone to talk to can be difficult when people are struggling with shame, but this can be easier to do when they’re willing, to be honest about it.

Educate Yourself On Addiction And Recovery

As soon as you’ve helped someone, it’s important to educate yourself on addiction and recovery. Take some courses in addition, first. Perhaps you want to advocate for someone suffering from addiction. Education is a good place to start.

If you want to become an advocate, so many books and resources are available that can teach you how to help someone recovering from addiction or alcoholism. If you can educate yourself on addiction and recovery, it’s much easier to help someone recover.

It’s difficult to leave your friend and loved one alone. You want to help them when you’re also feeling vulnerable. You don’t want to leave them because you feel guilty. And that’s because it’s a natural human tendency to protect those you love from pain.

But it doesn’t need to be this way. Being a partner to someone suffering from addiction or alcoholism doesn’t have to be an excuse for making the situation worse. Helping your loved one means moving away from judgment and guilt.

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