Your loved one is dying. You want to save her, but don’t know how. You would do anything to help her…you just don’t know where to start. You’ve tried to intervene in the past, with no success.
It’s time to begin again and a great place to start is with five definitions. These five terms, when properly defined, can help to shape and direct effective support for your loved one.
Without the foundation these five definitions offer, you will stumble, hit a brick wall or give up because you’re trying to help without the proper knowledge and understanding.
Defining Your Foundation
- Your Job
What is your role in her addiction and recovery? Anxiety and guilt can confuse our definition of this term. Your job is to love and encourage treatment. Treatment itself, however, is not your job. our job is to set boundaries, offer support and seek support for yourself as well.
You know she needs help, but what does “help” mean, exactly? What does help look like? Well, that depends on what substances she is abusing, how long she’s been using them and what other mental health issues she’s experiencing. Other factors can also affect the situation, such as insurance and location. To effectively help her, it is important to determine what kind of help will make the most impact. Then you can help to find the right facility or program that meets her needs.
How you define and view addiction greatly impacts your interactions with those who are struggling with it. This definition determines what you expect and how you respond. It’s important to realize addiction impacts the brain. The patterns developed are no longer just behavioral they are an entrenched drug-seeking cycle the brain has been re-wired to churn. Addicts seeking recovery must retrain their brains to respond differently to external triggers that set this cycle in motion.
It is a mistake to think all she has to do is simply change her use of drugs. Ceasing use is not enough;change must be all-encompassing. If she has been using for a long time, her life likely revolves around it. To achieve sustained sobriety, everything must change. Relationships. Environments. Patterns of coping. To remove herself from bad influences, she may need to change jobs, make new friends or even move. She has to seek out new healthy environments and develop new ways to handle everyday stress.
Love does not mean never having to say you’re sorry. It also doesn’t mean you have to be an enabler. You can love her without supporting her negative behaviors. It’s not about giving her money for the cell phone bill; it is about giving her a reason to go to treatment. It means getting help for yourself so you can encourage her and show her that life is worth living. It means telling her again and again that you love her , you believe in her and you need her in your life. This definition of love not only heals self-loathing…it gives her a reason to get clean.
Additional Reading: You Can Hate My Addiction Without Hating Me
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