It is often the case that family members and friends of an individual with an addiction will notice there is a problem long before the person with the addiction will. Many addicts are unable to see the truth that is staring them in the face, or they choose to ignore it because it is easier than admitting they need help.
While an addicted loved one is practicing denial, it can be extremely frustrating for their family members or friends. They will know that their loved one needs help, but they will also know that they cannot force them to get help if they are not ready. They may know this from experience or through research they have carried out.
Either way, it is important to remember that there will come a point when a loved one will finally see that the affected individual has a problem and that the person will need to do something about his or her drug taking or drinking.
If you are a family member with an affected loved one, there is no way to make him or her see a problem exists, but you can continue to do everything you can to push him or her in the right direction.
Recognising the Problem
The first step is to get your loved one to recognise that he or she has a serious problem. Your loved one must be able to identify that the drinking or drug taking is out of control. In many instances, people with addictions will live in denial until they are compelled to see what everyone else can see. This could be due to a health scare or when a close friend takes them aside and expresses concern. It could be down to you as a loving friend or family member to issue an ultimatum. Family addiction support groups will help you out on the way to recovery.
Accepting the Problem
Once your loved one has finally recognised that drugs or alcohol is causing a problem, he or she must be ready to accept that it is time to do something about it. At this point, this person must be willing to accept that he or she is an addict or alcoholic. But remember, this can be a difficult thing for anyone – it is hard to say the words and your loved one may not be ready to admit it.
When the affected person is ready to admit that he or she does have an addiction and has recognised the seriousness of the situation, it may be time for them to get help. It is not enough for him or her to tell you that they will stop drinking or taking. Addicts are experts at making promises and never keeping them. Even with the best intentions, without professional help, your loved one will be unable to control the urge to drink or take drugs when the cravings hit.
If this individual has accepted that addiction is a negative force in his or her life, it is time to put a plan of action in place and to actively seek out help.
For most people addicted to chemical substances such as drugs or alcohol, it is necessary for a programme of detoxification to be completed before rehab. This will help to get rid of all toxins from the body and will prepare the individual for various treatments designed to help him or her have a successful recovery.
Once detox has been completed, your loved one will be ready to enter rehab. This could be inpatient or outpatient care, depending on the circumstances. Either way, the person will be offered various treatments that could include individual or group therapy sessions, one-to-one counselling, 12-step work, and cognitive behavioural therapy. These treatments are designed to help patients identify what triggers their addictive behaviour and provide them with the tools they need to change this behaviour going forward so they can live a healthy, clean life.