It is never easy to witness your loved one deal and suffer from an addiction. According to addiction expert Dr. Gabor Mate, “the attempt to escape from pain is what creates more pain”. It is only by finding deep compassion within us for the suffering of an individual that we can begin to help them in a true and empathetic way.
If you have a loved one in your life who you are trying to assist and help overcome their addiction, this is the guide for you. Here are some effective ways by which you can help someone overcome their dependence on drugs.
First and foremost, it is extremely important to establish trust between both of you so that you can help them effectively. Although there may have been times in the past where they have betrayed you or maybe they feel that you betrayed them but by choosing compassion over resentment, you can put these feelings away and assess their actions through their perspective.
You should make it a point to avoid nagging or lecturing them and focus more on building trust as it is very important for them to open up to you in order to have clear and honest communication. Logic and advice won’t always get through to someone who has an addiction which is often triggered by factors outside of the logical mind
Trust goes both ways and you will need to keep approaching them with care and compassion until it has been established. Oftentimes people use addiction as a way to self-soothe and regulate. Dealing with them from a level of understanding and empathy can make the world of a difference.
By setting boundaries, you can be firm yet kind with them and this will allow you to make choices that they may not understand or fully agree with but you know are best for their wellbeing. This could be limiting their time with certain friends or going to places that trigger their dependence on drugs. Through building a relationship of trust, honesty, and setting clear boundaries, you may be able to open discussions of inpatient substance abuse treatment with them and make them familiar with the addiction program or therapy. They may not have ever thought they need something like this but with your help, you can perhaps help them to understand how this could benefit them.
By identifying treatment options with them, you give them autonomy over their healing as well as empower them to choose their future.
It can not be emphasized enough how important is to ensure that they are looked after and are getting all the help that they need but to do this effectively, it is equally important for you to look after yourself. Only by filling your cup first, you will have something to give to them. You can start by introducing some basic self-care practices into your daily routine which can be anything you like and gives you the desired stress release and relaxation that you need. Some examples are meditation, yoga, workout, breathing exercises, or even a nice warm bath every evening with a book.
It is imperative to establish open communication and trust with your loved ones. Show them that you truly care and love them and are willing to help them to the best of your capacity as long as they are willing to help themselves. You will need to exercise a lot of patience as changes don’t occur overnight and oftentimes it can seem like they are going backward. This is part of a healing journey and it takes its due course of time and will ultimately lead to a happy and dependency-free life.