Unfortunately, substance abuse and addiction are very real problems that affect all kinds of people, every age and all walks of life. These people have friends and family that love them and want them to be happy, in the same ways that you probably know and love someone with a substance abuse problem or serious addiction.
So, the big question is—how do you cope? How do you love someone with a serious addiction without losing yourself in the process? Read on for four ways to build your coping skills to support your habit-addicted loved one while keeping yourself and your sanity safe.
Be a Supportive Role in Getting Them Help and Listening to Their Struggles
You can love someone without enabling their behavior. You can be there for them and love them with all of your heart but still refuse to contribute to their addictions. It might be hard at first—there’s no doubt that they might resent you for not helping them reach the pentacle of their addictions. But the best thing you can be is supportive, because one day they’re going to need it. Rock bottom is no place they should be left alone.
Don’t Shame or Verbally Abuse Anyone, Ever
Several neuroscience and psychiatry resources agree that addiction can happen to anyone,anywhere—regardless of age, career, status, etc. So never assume you’re better than someone else because they’re struggling through addictive behaviors. It could just as easily be you. Hence, the reason you should never shame someone for their past decisions because addiction is a hard mistress to let go of.
Always Be That Shoulder to Cry on or That Much-Needed Hug
Addicts are people and people need love, support, hugs, and someone to listen to them. You will know, from gathered experience over time, when your loved one is talking and when the addiction takes over. Addiction can make someone say and do horrible things, but your underlying loved one is still there. They still need you to listen.
Reinforce Your Understanding of Addiction with Research and Knowledge
One of the best things you can do for someone with an addiction is educate yourself. Learn about their substance of choice, understand where addiction comes from and why some people are more prone to addictive behaviors than others, and reinforce your knowledge of how to cope and help.