When to Stop Helping an Addict

When a family member or close friend is addicted to a substance, it can be hard to know how, or when to help. Often it’s through the support of family and friends who truly care about the addict that helps them make changes in their life, but the reality is that too much help can produce a reverse effect.


There is a fine line between helping an addict and making it easier for him or her to stay addicted.


Because addiction is a type of illness, often the good intentions of family is not enough to solve the problem. That being said, the family can help in a variety of ways. Sometimes they can be the support network the addict needs to start treatment with a professional. Families can also set and enforce boundaries that make it harder to continue to use the substance.


Problems result when the addict starts using their family to fuel their addiction. Since addiction stops a person from thinking rationally, the person may not even know what they are doing to their family. All they know is that they need their fix. When the situation gets to this point, the addict will, inadvertently or not, start harming their family in one way or another.


If the addict is not accepting positive help, then it is probably time to practice tough love and make them go on alone. If they live with you, this may not mean kicking them out of the home, but it does mean setting firm boundaries to protect yourself.


If the addict is suffering from chronic relapses, this means the treatment route they chose hasn’t really changed them. In that circumstance, it’s usually best to back away and make them stand on their own.  The same is true if they are destroying your family, and have no interest in treatment options.


Don’t beg, cry, or demand that they stop. Don’t make any excuses for them at all. If they’re late, or don’t show up at work, don’t try to smooth things over with their boss. Don’t lend them money, or pay their bills. Don’t accept responsibility for anything they’ve done, because it’s not your fault.


In order for an addict to see who they really are in their addiction, they may have to hit rock bottom. If you are there cushioning their fall every time they get into trouble, you will just help them continue in their addiction.


The key to helping an addict successfully get out of their addiction, is to support them, but not enable them. If you make it easy to stay addicted, they’ll stay addicted. If you take steps to help them in recovery, but keep them at arm’s length when they relapse, they will hopefully decide that your relationship is more important than their addiction.
An addict has to make their own choice to become clean, and no amount of nagging on your part will cause that. Protect yourself by setting boundaries, then allow the addict to make their own choices. When they make the right choice, support them, but when it’s the wrong choice, back away.  If your loved one is ready to make the healthy choice and begin an addiction treatment program, contact Right Path Drug Rehab today.

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