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4 Ways to be Supportive When Addiction Hits Close to Home

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4 Ways to be Supportive When Addiction Hits Close to Home

Drug addictions and substance abuse are rampant in today’s society – and it’s no longer something that only impoverished and crime-ridden communities deal with. From siblings and friends to coworkers and teammates, we’re all exposed to people with addiction on a daily basis and it’s imperative that we understand how to be supportive.

If you’ve been dealing with someone who suffers from an addiction, then you know how all-encompassing their behavior can be.

“When an individual is struggling with addiction, families also bear the consequences of the disease,” American Addiction Centers explains. “As a result, families often experience a poor quality of life financially, psychologically and spiritually, and take on enabling and/or codependent behavior.”

That’s why you have to step in and take action. It’s not just one person being affected – it’s a whole group of people. Here are a few practical ways you can be supportive.

1. Educate Yourself

Most of us are wholly uneducated when it comes to addiction. This isn’t anything to feel embarrassed about, but simply means you haven’t had much experience with the issue in your own life. Well, before you confront and offer your support to a loved one, it’s important that you educate yourself and learn everything you can about the science behind addiction.

The biggest thing you need to understand is that addiction isn’t voluntary. Sure, people make stupid mistakes that put themselves in compromising situations, but addiction physically reconstructs the brain and hardwires individuals to behave in certain ways. Once you truly understand this, you’ll begin to see your loved one differently.

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2. Offer Genuine Support

There are two types of support: compulsory support and genuine support. Compulsory support is the type of support that people offer when they feel like they have to say or do something. For example, if you catch your friend in the act of using drugs, then you feel like you have to say something to them.

Genuine support, on the other hand, is the type of support that comes from the heart. Genuine support is the overflow of your own personal convictions and your love for the affected individual. While it may not seem much different from your perspective, addicts can feel the difference between compulsory and genuine support – and are much likelier to respond to the latter.

3. Be Consistent (But Not Overbearing)

You can’t expect an addict to drop what they’re doing and commit to sobriety after one conversation. If you’ve done a good job of educating yourself on the science of addiction, you know this is true.

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With that being said, the key to supporting a loved one in their bout with addiction is to be consistent without being overbearing. This means regularly having conversations with them while knowing when to back away and give them space.

4. Support the Recovery Process

After getting a loved one to attend a recovery program, it can feel like your job is finished. Unfortunately, it’s not. Recovery is an ongoing process and you must stand with them every step of the way.

“Once your friend or family member is receiving treatment, or going to meetings, remain involved,” explains the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. “While maintaining your own commitment to getting help for yourself, continue to support their participation in ongoing care, meetings and recovery support groups. Continue to show that you are concerned about their successful long-term recovery.”

Addiction is Hard on Everyone

While it’s easy to abandon and remove yourself from the situation, remember that addiction is a very real disease and must be treated as such. You owe it to your loved one to support them through their addiction.

Featured photo credit: Lifehack.org via media.lifehack.org

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Anna Johansson

Anna specializes in entrepreneurship, technology, and social media trends.

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Last Updated on November 22, 2021

Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

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Thanksgiving: It’s About The Simple Things

Thanksgiving, a day of pure gluttony, football, and possible uncomfortable situations with family members that you may or may not like. Oh, yeah, and the whole “know and reflect on what it is to be thankful and grateful.”

During the holiday season many people forget what this time of year is bout and are too worried about getting the “early-bird” deals on Black Friday and making sure that they have the perfect gifts for their loved ones. I am sort of a “Grinch” when it comes to the holiday season, mostly because of that mentality by many of the poeple around me.

But instead of being grinch-like this holiday season, I decided to simplify things and get back to what this time of year is actually is about; being thankful for what I have and what I can give.

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Simplify

I’m not a “minimalist” in any real sense, but in the last few months the talks of Patrick Rhone and others have got me to rethink my stance. Can you really have too much stuff?

Absolutely.

And with all that stuff comes the burden and the weight of it on your back.

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If you feel that the things around you are out of control, maybe it’s time to simplify and be thankful and grateful for what you have and use. Here are a few things that you can do to simplify:

  • You know those gadgets in the drawer that you said you were going to sell? Well, time to get the listing on eBay and sell them. Or, send them to a place like Gazelle. Even if they are old and won’t get money, you can at least recycle them.
  • Get rid of things you don’t need. Like old books, clothes, tools, etc. Have something that’s been laying around forever with no use? Donate it to a charity or church. If you aren’t using it, someone else could be.
  • Find your productivity tools and stick with them. Use tools and gadgets that serve multiple purposes so you can simplify your tool set.

Be Mindful

You don’t have to be a master Buddhist or meditator to be mindful (although, it can definitely help). Being mindful comes down to being cognizant of the present and not keeping yourself in the past or future. It’s about living in the moment and being aware of yourself and everything around you. It’s just being.

Without getting too “California” on you, it is super important to be mindful during the holiday rush. Rather than worrying about the things that you forgot at your house on the way to relatives or thinking about the next stop in your endless holiday travels, just breath and think about what you are currently doing.

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Spend the time with your family and friends and don’t crush the moment. Try not to concentrate so hard on getting the perfect photo of the “awesome moment” of the day and actually miss the awesome moment.

Being mindful over the holidays will help you be with your families, friends, and yourself allowing you to enjoy your time.

Reflect

As the year is coming to a close (yes, it really is that close!) it’s a great time to start reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you haven’t. Within the next few weeks we will have a more throrough reflection article here at Lifehack.org, but reflecting every now and then over your holiday break is a great way to see where you have been doing well in your life and where you need to improve.

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Reflection shouldn’t be used to “get down” on yourself. Reflection should be used to take an honset inventory of what you have accomplished, how you handeled situations, and what you can do better. If you journal everyday (a daily form of reflection) it may be a good time to start going over some of the things that you have written and start to put together a year’s end journal entry. I mean, how else will you write your autobiography?

But, seriously, reflecting on yourself makes you aware of your successes and faults and helps you plan and make goals for the coming year. It makes you a better person.

So, while you are stuffing your face with bird, stuffing, and mashed taters’, remember that the holidays are much more than the superficial things. Use this holiday to become a better person.

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Featured photo credit: Libby Penner via unsplash.com

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