My loved one asked for help, what do I do now?

When your loved one decides on their own that they are ready for help you can be prepared by familiarizing yourself with options. If they ask your advice on what to do an objective response from you will serve them best. Some of the options include: inpatient and outpatient rehabilitation centers & Sober Living Houses/Environments, Alcoholics Anonymous, and numerous other specific-addiction focused meetings/programs.

In the meantime, my best advice is that you allow your loved one to MAKE the choice to enter recovery and seek medical and/or psychological help. Refrain from coming up with your own solutions for their lives, or trying to force treatments on them. If this occurs, both of you will end up resentful. In my experience, this behavior is cause to why most interventions do not work. You must not take offense to the decisions and actions of others.

There are plenty of options

Contrary to what you might think, just because you don’t always see eye to eye, your loved one does not want to hurt you or harm you. They are sick and powerless to the disease of addiction. To be blunt, their brain is impaired, and the person you once knew and still love won’t be back until they find sobriety. It’s a hard pill to swallow, but once you can wholeheartedly “let go” of trying to fix them, and abstain from offering your unsolicited advice, your own life will start to get better.

Addiction recovery must be taken “one day at a time” and relapse is often a part of the process. Just like you may “slip” and try to “fix” your addict from time to time, the same will most likely happen to your loved one. When they “slip” know it’s not your fault, it’s because of the disease. Everyday it’s a struggle for them to fight off the physical craving of the body and obsession of the mind. In the same respect, you must also learn to take your life “one day at a time”, and find serenity in accepting that there are things you cannot change.

They are sick and in need of help

What you CAN change is putting an end to your own codependent behaviors and make sure healthy boundaries are set. As you adopt this with commitment, you will ultimately find the strength and courage to finally keep the focus on yourself. This more evolved version of you will stand tall, and as a result will be better equipped to answer your loved one’s request for help or advice when the time is right.

Remember, we cannot help someone else if we do not first help ourselves. After setting boundaries and doing away with codependent and enabling behaviors, many of us that have lived with an alcoholic or addict actually saw them start to get better. It’s definitely a surprise, but a good surprise! Think of the phrase “it takes two to Tango” and how it usually means it takes two people to have an argument or to engage in a fight. Why not give that phrase a positive spin? Be a leader. Be kind. But don’t get stomped on.

By showing leadership and demonstrating healthy behavior you make a good impression on those in your life. When we lead by example, we also offer an indirect form of help, and gain the respect of the addicts in our lives that may need it the most.

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