1. Confront the Addicted Family Member
One of the most powerful ways to cope with a family member with an addiction is to confront that person about her problem. The best way to do this is to have a formal intervention. Gather all of the family and friends who love this person the most, including those who have been hurt by her addiction, and wait for the addict to come home. Work out in advance that everything you say will be said calmly and lovingly. Do not yell and make accusations. When the addict arrives home, simply take turns telling her exactly how her addiction has affected everyone in the room and reinforce how much you love her and want her to get help. Give her solid, concrete examples of why her addiction is a problem, then offer assistance in getting her the help she needs to break her addiction. This may not always produce positive results immediately. However, even if your loved one does not respond right then, she may think about what you’ve said and agree to get help at a later time.
2. Get Counseling for Yourself
Many family members of addicted people seek out counseling for themselves. There are lots of group meetings around the country specifically for the family members of people with addictions, like Al-Anon and Alateen. If you can’t find a support group for family members of people with your loved one’s particular addiction, go to an individual counselor to talk about your problems. Group meetings and counselors will give you a means to vent you sorrow, anger and frustration. Counseling will also provide you with the tools you need to understand what your loved on is going through, help you cope and provide you with resources to get help for your addict.
3. Don’t Blame Yourself
Many family members of addicted people blame themselves for the problem. This is a mistake. Your loved one’s addiction is no one’s fault but his own. No matter how much he may blame you, you had nothing to do with it and it’s important you remember this. If you blame yourself, guilt will eat you up and make it difficult for you to be strong and supportive at the time when your loved one needs it most.
About this Author
Stephanie Varney is a former professor at Marist College with more than a decade of freelance writing experience. Her areas of interest include autoimmune diseases, reproductive and mental health, alternative health therapies, allergies and environmental issues. She has been a committed vegetarian for 14 years and a vegan for 5.