Addiction, when it pertains to a loved one, is a delicate problem that needs an equally delicate solution. And that solution is compassion. This well-known, and yet often assumed, virtue can help redeem a loved one wallowing in drug addiction to a life of constructive sobriety.
Drug or behavioural dependence is something a lot of people struggle with. Quite a number of people have a family member or a friend who has constantly lost the battle against this unhealthy dependence despite trying out many interventions.
Something like heroin addiction, for instance, can take quite a toll on a person and his/her loved ones. Usually, in these cases, both the addict and those who care about him/her become victims to the drug or behavioral dependence.
Not surprisingly, such addicts do not get a lot of compassion from those close to them as their behaviors, inspire anger, betrayal, frustration, pain. And yet, compassion is something they desperately need because or substance abuse is not easy to abandon. But the lack of this support might be fueling the problem and making the dependence more justified in the minds of those affected.
That is why compassion and other forms of support from loved ones can go a long way in helping addicts overcome the problem. Walking away from a relationship does not help things either, since it inspires the psychological issues that often lead to addiction in the first place.
How to Support a Loved One Overcome their Addiction
Show Some Empathy
Compassion has more effect when it is based on reality. That means you should go to the root of the problem and try to understand what your loved one is going through, and the struggles they are having with the addiction affecting them.
Even though they may seem like they do not care about their well-being or that of their loved ones, addicts are often disappointed with themselves, and hoping that they can one day break the shackles of the behavioral or substance dependence taking a toll on their lives.
Once you understand such basics about the addiction your loved one is experiencing, you will be in a better position to offer the emotional and the psychological support they desperately need to lead normal lives.
Do Not be Overbearing
It is true that you want your loved one to get better more than anything. But that has to happen at a natural pace. In other words, you have to be patient and give them space to comfortably handle the long journey back to sobriety without feeling smothered.
One of the greatest benefits of this is that such a person will be more willing to open up about what they are going through, and that can give you incredible insights into how you can help him/her remedy the situation.
Taking Care of Yourself
You cannot be of much help to anybody when you are in dire need of help yourself. Sure, dealing with an addicted loved one can be difficult; but taking care of them when you are struggling with your own issues is even harder. So, make sure that you are not too hard on yourself over your loved one’s addiction problem.
Do not feel like you have failed the person in some way or another, or that you lack the skills to offer the help they need. The self-pity will eat you on the inside and add to the problems your addicted loved one is facing. So, make sure you are composed and in a good psychological state as you help the addicted loved one. Addiction is harder on someone once they realize that it is also ruining the lives of those they love.
Helping a loved one overcome addiction is not the responsibility of therapists and other professionals only – loved ones also need to get involved. However, this can be quite a challenge. That is why it is important to ensure that your intervention does not exacerbate the issue.
In general, compassion has to be an underlying factor in the way you help a loved one overcome their unhealthy dependence. But this has to start with you – you cannot show compassion to another person when you have no compassion for yourself. Only by shaking off feelings of guilt, anger, frustration self-pity can you have the compassion necessary to support an addicted loved one.