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4 Ways to be Supportive When Addiction Hits Close to Home

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 January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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