Help! My loved one is an addict

It can happen to anyone, and maybe it’s happened to someone you really care about: a family member, a friend or a partner trial.

Addiction to drugs or alcohol can seem like an impossible thing to handle. You go through feelings of fear, anger and helplessness as you watch someone slowly slip out of their own lives, and it’s like they can’t even hear you.

The first thing you need to know: You are truly not alone

A network of support groups all around the world exists to support and inform the family members of alcoholics and victims of drug addiction. It may take forever for an addict to realise that they need help, but the families of addicts need help immediately. Especially when it comes to street drugs like tik, nyope or heroin.

Which support groups are there?

Alanon and Narcanon are part of Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Both came about as people realised that addicts need the support of families to get sober. Families need to know how to deal with addicts, in order not to be torn apart. Most important is knowing that someone else’s addiction is not your fault. But you need to know how to deal with an addict so you don’t make the problem worse. Understanding how addicts may use manipulation to keep their addiction going is vital. How to resist being manipulated in a firm and loving way is just one of the skills that support groups open up to families.

The most valuable help that these support organisations bring is the fact that they really, really understand. Everyone there has experienced what you are going through, and being able to talk freely provides a great deal of relief. And they also know what works, and what doesn’t.

Read  Don’t burn out – time to take your leave!

Don’t wait for anyone else

You don’t have to wait for your addicted loved one to see the light before you attend an Alanon or Narcanon meeting. In fact, the support you get at these meetings can be the first step towards helping them to face their addiction. Even if it doesn’t, you will be taking a positive step towards preserving the health and well-being of the rest of the family.

Who can attend an addiction support group?

Anyone can attend. They are usually run once or twice a week, in almost every neighbourhood, and you can share as much – or as little – as you like. If you are under the age of 18, get adult family member to go with you, but go. There is help out there for families who are struggling with addicted members.