When someone we love is drowning in addiction, we want them to seek treatment. We’re often scared for their safety and sometimes our own. Addiction is the elephant in the room that no one wants to mention. Usually we see their problem long before they do, and we’re tired of riding the emotional roller-coaster. Over and over, we say:
- “My boyfriend won’t get help.”
- “My best friend just overdosed again.”
- “How do I make my husband go to rehab?”
- “My son’s drinking again.”
- “What can I do…?”
Treatment Is Optional
This answer is wildly unpopular. I cannot do anything to make anyone else change. I can only change me. I’ll never forget the first time I heard this truth. It took me two weeks to process this idea. There’s nothing I can say to make “him” go to rehab. Nor can I do anything to make “her” quit drinking.
At first, I felt hopeless. It was heartbreaking to watch my loved one continue down a destructive path. Finally, I found a way to cheat the system. I can control one person’s recovery – mine. Alcohol and substance abuse are diseases. They affect the whole family. I can’t do anything about someone else’s use, but here are three ways I can help myself:
- Learn about the disease of addiction
- Set boundaries
- Take care of my immediate physical needs
These are the types of things friends and family can learn in recovery. Many groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, Family Support, and Adult Children of Alcoholics help friends, spouses, and parents recover.
Suffering Is Also Optional
Addiction is a disease that steals our relationships, finances, and too often our peace of mind. Yet, through family counseling and support groups many have found their own recovery. Finding your own recovery doesn’t guarantee your loved one will follow your lead. However, it’s the best thing you can do to help them.
Finding Treatment For Yourself
While Recovery Guidance lists treatment centers and rehabs, it also lists family counselors and support groups. These professionals have an understanding of how addiction impacts relationships. You can click on the image below to search for counselors near you.
You can find Al-Anon and other family support group meetings on the Recovery Centers tab. In the search for anything box, type the group name, i.e.: Al-Anon, CoDA, or Nar-Anon.
Want help, but not sure where to start? Click here to try our self-assessment guide.
Leave a comment below
Pam is the author of Co-dependent In The Kitchen, and she's a contributing editor for Recovery Guidance. She's a recovery advocate who likes long walks on the beach and chocolate.