When one part of the body hurts, the whole body hurts. When one member of your family is struggling in a specific way, it impacts the entire family. There’s nothing like dealing with a family member who struggles with an addiction. It can be a debilitating experience. It can also be a very scary one. However, it doesn’t have to remain that way. There are ways to help your family member get to the other side. Even though it’s ultimately their choice, consider these steps in order to help them make it past an addiction.

  1. Don’t feel ashamed.
    First, you have to understand that it’s not your fault. A lot of people deal with tons of shame when they see a family member struggling. They assume that if they did something differently, this wouldn’t be the situation. In some cases, that might be true. However, in most cases, it’s not. Each person makes a decision for themselves. Don’t take on this issue as a personal indictment of your past. Understand that tons of families deal with this every single day. Many families deal with it silently. Just because it’s behind closed doors doesn’t mean it’s not happening. In order to move forward and lead a healthy life, let go of the shame attached to this struggle.
  2. Consider a family intervention.
    It’s important to deal with it head-on. Don’t try to hide from the reality of the situation. This only prolongs the inevitable. Get your family together, and consider how you can confront the family member as a unit. There are plenty of resources you can find in order to learn more about how to perform intervention. As you move forward with the intervention, always lead with love. Make sure that family member understands that you all are coming from a place of love and concern. When they feel supported and loved, this might make a difference in their response to you. Consider this intervention as the first point of contact. If there is a trusted family member or friend that the addicted member trusts, make sure that person is in the room. Allow them to lead the discussion as they might be able to create and facilitate a safe environment for everyone’s feelings.
  3. Sit down with a mental health counselor.
    It’s a good idea to sit down with a mental health counselor. After all, when you’re dealing with that much trauma with another family member, it will impact you in some way. You don’t want to go through life internalizing all of your feelings. You have to make sure you release them and take care of yourself. Process all of this information with a safe, effective and professional mental health counselor. This counselor might even be able to suggest substance abuse and family therapy options so that everyone in your family can help your specific family member get through the addiction.
  4. Develop your own outlets.
    When you get on an airplane, the attendant always reminds you to put your mask on first before helping others. This same concept applies to your life. Before you work to help others, you need to make sure that you’re in a good place. Become intentional about developing your own Outlets to help you live a healthy life. Exercise on a regular basis as it will help you maintain mental clarity. It’ll also help you with weight management. Drink lots of water and eat healthy foods on a consistent basis. Your body needs the fiber, vitamins and nutrients that a Clean Diet provides. Foster strong relationships with friends outside of your family members. It’s so important for you to have your own life outside of the chaos. Make sure that you regularly meet up with your friends to have fun and relax. Travel so that you can see the world and get out of your environment for a little bit of time. While you might be dealing with a catastrophe in your family, remember that life is too short. You have to still enjoy it.
  5. Be patient.
    Even after you have an intervention, understand that the road to recovery takes time. It might take years before you see a marked difference in your family member’s behavior. It is very difficult to beat an addiction. Don’t expect your family member to be able to rebound within a few weeks. Even with treatments, it still takes time. Develop patience. Understand that it is a journey. When you look at it from that perspective, you’ll be able to have a little bit more empathy for those who struggle with an addiction.