Finding Support as a Loved One of a Drug Addict

Contributor: Crystal Karges, MS, RDN, IBCLC for Addiction Hope

Drug abuse and addiction can be one of the most painful things to witness, especially in someone that you love and care for. If you know someone who has become addicted to drugs, whether illicit or prescription medications, you have likely observed a gradual decline and deterioration.

The Consequences Affect Everyone

Perhaps your loved one has lost their job or career, has damaged relationships, or has suffered with different health complications. These can be some of the consequences that result from drug abuse and addiction.

As someone on the outside, you might feel helpless seeing someone you care for so deeply struggle through these side effects. You might even be directly impacted by some of the consequences, whether through financial means or through an increasing strain on your own relationship with this person.

“Fixing” the Problem

Drug addiction is a complex disorder that takes professional support to address. You may feel inclined to try to “fix” your loved one, especially as you painfully watch their life unraveling at the seams. For starters, as hard as it is to see the consequences of drug addiction unfold first hand, it is important to understand that you cannot be the one to fix these broken situations.

Drug addicts must receive professional help and treatment to adequately address the complexity of addictions. While your support can be a vital part of the recovery process, you yourself cannot singlehandedly repair or restore a drug addict.

Girlfriends relaxing in park, horizontal

Another helpful thing to understand is the need you will have for support during this process. Supporting a loved one who is a drug addict can trigger a roller coaster of emotions and bring about situations that you have never had to encounter or work through before. The best way to work through these circumstances successfully is to have help and support for yourself.

Finding a Helpful Support Group

Support groups for loved ones of drug addicts can be incredibly helpful and offer much needed encouragement for this journey you are walking. You might also find that a support group is a helpful way to connect and relate to others who also know what it is like to be in your shoes. Being able to talk with someone who can understand what you are going through can be all the support you need to stay the course. Knowing that you are not alone can be comforting, especially when fighting against a disease that can be so isolating.

Community discussion – share your thoughts here!

What challenges have you faced as you support a loved one who has struggled with drug addiction? How did you overcome these challenges?

Last Updated & Reviewed By: Jacquelyn Ekern, MS, LPC on April 2nd, 2015
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