Addiction rates currently remain at their highest, where 1 in 11 people misuse drugs and alcohol, meaning that there’s a strong likelihood that you will know of someone who’s abusing addictive substances.

While this reality can be difficult to digest, there’s even a likelihood that at some point, a family member may struggle with substance abuse and/or mental health issues.

In fact, currently, someone you care about may be living in denial may be hiding their addictive side effects, or maybe longing for personal support. However, understandably, you may not be aware of this, maybe scared to approach the topic of addiction, or may even be unintentionally enabling drug and alcohol consumption, while witnessing the damages that they cause.

It’s understandable if you are worried about openly talking about drug and alcohol experiences. It’s also reasonable, to a degree, if you’re concerned about your relationship moving forward. It’s also natural to want to do whatever it takes to assist in the moment of despair. However, your actions, moving forward should be positive, should be supportive and should be proactive, helping you help your family member with an addiction issue.

As instructions for this kind of experience do not exist, it’s important that you’re equipped with knowledge and awareness of addiction recovery and living with an addict. It’s important that you’re positioned to offer suitable and compassionate support through the acknowledgement of an addiction issue.

Here’s some guidance on dealing with a family member with an addiction issue, along with how we can assist here at Ocean Recovery.


Your role in helping a family member with an addiction issue

On initial acknowledgement, it’s understandable to experience a wide spectrum of emotions, in relation to your loved one’s addiction diagnosis. There’s a chance you may feel angry, disappointed, concerned, anxious, helpless and accountable.

However, while you may feel negatively towards their initial actions of drug and alcohol abuse, it’s important to remember that addiction is uncontrollable and that your opinions will not ease this experience.

Instead, you can play a significant role in helping a family member with an addiction issue, by providing a trustworthy form of support, by offering a helping hand and listening ear and encouraging the idea of rehabilitation.

This isn’t the time to make judgments or overshare. This isn’t a time to compare experiences or ask personal questions surrounding the use of drugs and alcohol. It’s a time to stand as a family and fulfil the duty of compassion, care and commitment.

Understandably, dealing with a family member with an addiction issue may feel out of your depth. You will encounter tests and pushbacks.

Yet, with the right approach, along with the use of small yet progressive stepping stones, you can learn to deal with and support your loved one through addiction issues and rehabilitation efforts.


Dealing with a family member with an addiction issue

As a family, you’ll likely have your own approach to dealing with personal issues, all down to your closeness and openness. However, there are some important steps that you should take, prior to even considering a significant intervention, to protect your relationship and the mental health of your family member.


Understand addiction, the signs, symptoms and the recovery process

Start off by understanding the addiction issues that your family member is going through. Increasing your awareness of addiction, the signs and symptoms of it, and the recovery process will be recommended.

Through greater insight, you’ll have the capability to recognise whether an addiction issue is present, and if so, the confidence to intervene and offer support.

Doing your research is also wise as there are many misconceptions around addiction, which you must work through. Understanding the severity of the addiction as an uncontrollable brain illness, requiring comprehensive treatment is recommended.


Aim to plan with urgency

While you should initially take your time and be patient when dealing with a family member with an addiction issue, you should also plan with urgency in mind, to reduce the degree of suffering experienced by all parties.

By planning, we mean the steps that you’re hoping to take throughout the acknowledgement phase, along with your prospects of drug and alcohol rehabilitation.

By urgency, we mean that you should focus now on supporting your loved one, rather than delaying it down to fear or denial.


Approaching the topic of addiction recovery

Talking openly about your concerns may currently feel challenging. You may lack insight into the right approach to discuss addiction recovery and the experiences that your family member is encountering.

You should approach the topic with compassion, a degree of understanding, respect, encouragement at the forefront, and positivity.

Remember that you may experience some pushback and you may initially struggle to express your feelings. Yet, by continuing your efforts, you will show your loved one that you care, and that you’re here to help through their addiction issue.


Source relevant support groups

Witnessing and dealing with addiction issues can be tough on your personal mental health. Sourcing relevant support via family-led groups will be recommended. This can also help you through your approach, can provide perspective and can also offer some inspiration when considering addiction recovery journeys.


Promote all-round wellbeing

An addiction is a detrimental condition, posing risk to physical and psychological health. To improve the quality of life for all involved, you will benefit from promoting all-round wellbeing. You should lead by example and showcase the life, to your family member, which can be experienced by accepting addiction treatment services.


Motivate professional support

Dealing with a family member with an addiction issue, alone, can be tough. This is why we at Ocean Recovery, like many other rehab clinics are here for you. Motivating professional support will be possible by collaborating with our team, here to support you through a family referral and possible intervention service.

Living with an addict may be new to you. Dealing with an addicted family member may be new to you. Opening up about mental health issues and struggles may be new to you. Yet, by investing yourself into supporting and easing this time, you can increase the value and necessity of addiction recovery. Do so by immersing yourself in helping your family member with an addiction issue, wholeheartedly.

John Gillen - Author - Last updated: March 15, 2023

John is one UK’s leading professionals in the addiction recovery industry. Pioneering new treatment techniques such as NAD+ and ongoing research into new therapy techniques such as systematic laser therapy, John is committed to providing the very best treatment for people throughout the UK and Europe. During his extremely busy schedule, John likes to regularly update our blog section with the latest news and trends in the industry to keep visitors to our site as well informed as possible on everything related to addiction treatment.