Tough Love: Helping a Family Member Overcome Drug Addiction


Sometimes, it can really be hard to wrap your head around celebrities turning to drugs and destroying their careers in the process. How could such a star that burns so brightly in the minds of people all around the world sabotage himself/herself? 

Take the case of Whitney Houston. Billed as the diva with unrivaled vocals, Whitney reigned the charts, soaring higher than most of her contemporary artists with such unforgettable tunes as “I Will Always Love You” and “One Moment in Time”. But as fate would have it, drug addiction would find her. After years of battling to get her voice back to its immense power, the “Bodyguard” actress died of a drug overdose, with cocaine leading the pack. She became a shell of her once-powerful vocals. 

There are a hundred more stars who nearly succumbed to the talons of drug abuse too; some nearly losing their careers. Household names such as Robert Downy Jr., Marilyn Monroe, David Hasselhof, and Lindsay Lohan are some of these. 

Now, the good news is some of these stars were able to turn their careers around. To boot, Robert Downey Jr. is a living example of how one long addicted to drugs still has hope. 

Indeed, taking a page on that should be wise if you have someone in the family who’s drug dependent. Plus, here are proven methods to help someone close to you with a drug addiction problem. 

Take Care of Yourself

It’s surprising but it’s essential. If you want to take on this journey to help your addicted family member, then practicing good self-care is a must. Know that addiction of any form is a serious problem; taking it lightly means you’re not addressing the issue right. Far too often, helping an addicted member of the family is a long-drawn-out process that’s bound to impact you emotionally, mentally, and physically. 

Some of the essential things to help you in this endeavor are:

  • Eating right
  • Getting Active/physical exercise
  • Getting into sports/activities for fun
  • Having ample rest
  • Being able to express your emotions/not keeping them to yourself
  • Setting boundaries to keep you in control

It’s important you keep the essentials in mind as you could be adversely affected by your desire to help your family member become a better person. Be wary that without being healthy yourself, your chance of success also dims. When you are attuned to your needs, you only leave yourself vulnerable to enabling behaviors making the addiction even worse. 

You may not realize them but enabling behaviors are behaviors that actually support addicted family members in their chemical addiction. An example here is denial which could come in the form of accepting the blame for the addiction. Enabling behaviors provide the pillow each time a drug addict falls and in the long run, it worsens the situation. 

In a way, this is also the reason why confining your family member in a drug rehabilitation center is wise. With experts and medical professionals, a reliable rehab can look into timely solutions that are specifically relevant to your family member. Best of all, they can provide the right environment to get your loved one back on his feet in good time. 

Do Your Due Diligence

support group

It’s not as simple as telling your family member that he/she should seek help. You need to do your due diligence to effectively help your loved one. Only when you come from an informed perspective that you can hope to effect a better outcome. 

Indeed, you may look at it as an uphill climb. But you can actually take baby steps to learn about treatment options. Some of these are: 

  • Check reputable sources from the internet. CDC and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) are just some of these sources worth looking into.
  • Attend support groups to get a feel of how people with addiction struggle (e.g., Alcoholics Anonymous)
  • Connect with treatment centers and learn about their various programs

By doing so, you increase your chances of helping your addicted family member to change for the better. Know, however, that just as every one of us has different faces, every addiction is unique. Therefore, treatment options must also be tailored to the individual. Some addicts, for one, need a more aggressive approach while some would respond better to conservative approaches. 

Assist with Your Heart

Remember that you could dig yourself a hole in trying to help your family member. That’s because you involve yourself so much in your ardent desire to put your loved one on the right track. In short,  you can be an emotional wreck. Negative emotions are bound to surround you. 

It’s important therefore that you assist with empathy. As you may know by now, addiction happens to just about anyone. Chances are, your family member also wants to do the right things and just needs assistance to be able to do so. 

More often than not, addicted individuals feel powerless to overcome their addiction. It’s important therefore that you approach your loved one with love. They need to know you’re not blaming them for the addiction and that you will support them through and through. 

Before you approach your loved one, check your attitude while at the door. It’s important you respect him and connect with him instead of blaming him. It might be a long process but so long as you show you care, you are winning every day. 

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