– Sharon Toldson, MA, LCCT
Loving an addict is painful. You stand by helplessly watching your loved one destroy themselves and you feel hopeless. The more you scream, yell, or threaten the more the individual turns to the drug of choice and tries to blame you. You may try to set limits and ultimatums to no avail. Eventually you may even decide to end the relationship if the addict won’t give up the drugs or other harmful behaviors.
What if the addict is your child, your parent, or other family member where the relationship never really ends? Feelings of resentment and bitterness begin to set in. Here at Total Health Guidance, our holistic treatment perspective is not just for the addict, but also for the addicts family.
Support for a Love One Challenged with an Addiction (A.C.T)
1. Acknowledge your own feelings about how the loved ones addiction if affecting “you”. Regarding the addiction as embarrassing, shameful, or a disgrace to the family will only make matters worse. During the recovery process we help all members of the family give a voice to the silent pain and despair that once held them in bondage.
2. Communication must be effective.
- Try not to nag, preach or lecture your loved one. Chances are your loved one has already convinced themselves of everything you are trying to get them to understand. Nagging and lecturing will only increase their need to lie or force them to make promises that cannot be kept.
- Avoid any threats unless you think it through carefully and definitely intend to carry them out. There may be times, of course, when a specific action is necessary to protect children for example. Idle threats only make the person feel you don’t mean what you say.
3. Time The phrase, “time heals all wounds” is true when it is accompanied with positive actions. Realize, as a family, that addictions require “one day at a time” and often “one hour at a time” grace periods. Don’t expect an immediate 100% change. The recovery process includes periods of rehabilitation, improvement, and restoration. Time is the healer – not you as a loved one. Have you found yourself saying, “if you really loved me you would stop?” If so, this is more of an issue for you to work on – not the addict. If you are dealing with anger, resentment, or the inability to forgive, Please give us a call. We are here for you.