Amy Winehouse’s death is a reminder that we have a responsibility to help an addict. The star foretold her death in her hit single singing about the refusal of rehab.
We all know someone with an addiction problem. If it is not a family member, it is a close friend. And we want to help them. We can see their alcohol and drug addiction as a problem that is ruining their life.
The problem: Not all of us know how to help them. The most apparent solution is an alcohol or drug rehab, but this can be a challenge for many families and friends. This page provides 6 things that can be done to help the addict in our lives.
- Avoid Enabling – This is imperative. You want to help your addict loved one without enabling them. Many times you think you are “helping” your loved one, when you are actually making it easier for them to continue an addictive lifestyle. There are many examples of enabling. A common example is the work phone call. This is when you call in on behalf of the addict and make an excuse for their inability to work. In this, you are enabling their behavior. It is possible to help that loved one without enabling them. Make it perfectly clear that you will not help them continue in the lifestyle they have made for themselves.
- Open Honesty – This goes right along with enabling. A common issue seen in an addiction household is a denial that the problem exists. This of course creates an ideal environment for enabling and a greater addiction problem. If you see your loved ones addiction as a problem, you have to be honest about it. Let them know your feelings and concerns. Try to avoid contention. Contention will come as a defense strategy naturally to protect addictive behavior. Continue to be open, honest and loving. This can help the addict to know exactly where you stand on their behavior, and can actually benefit from this non- enabling element in the home.
- Getting Assistance from Family and Friends – Let the addict know they are not alone in this struggle. Involve family and friends. These individuals should also provide an open honesty in a caring, non enabling way. An addict may not be able to come to these conclusions themselves. If all of those who immediately influence them (Friends, family, employers, coworkers) show their support and willingness to help, it can be considerably sobering to the struggling addict. It is essential to create an environment of love and motivation, and best to again avoid a contentious atmosphere.
- Offering a Helping Hand – For the addict, recovery can be scary. It means giving up something that has an emotional and psychological control of them. If they are not alone, some of that fear can be reduced. Offer assistance in attendance to 12-step meetings, or visiting an addiction therapist. For those who need an alcohol or drug rehab program, be with them every step of the way and show your support for their decision to get help.
- Intervention – A number of addicts and alcoholics will not overcome their addiction without help. And for most of these individuals, intervention is required to bring an end to this lifestyle. The use of a professional interventionist can make all the difference of this process. An intervention is a planned meeting to assist the addict in getting proper help. Proper intervention should be motivational, caring, and done out of love. An interventionist can make all the difference. Studies have shown a much larger percentage of success when a professional interventionist is used.
We can only beat addiction with honesty.
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