Happy November everyone! Your mental health expert is back and ready to help you gear up for the holidays. This time of year is joyous for many people, but for others, it is a reminder that family dynamics are difficult and challenging. 

Addiction can be one of the things that cause family dynamics to turn upside down. Today, I want you to breathe, relax and understand that support is available. I am going to list for you, five ways to support a family member that is battling an alcohol and/or substance abuse addiction. Enabling is never the answer, but there are things you can do to empower and keep your sanity at the same time.

  1. Understand Addiction.

Do your research! Once you are certain a loved one is struggling with an addiction, learn about the addiction. Learn the warning signs, the triggers that can lead to addiction and the statistics on the recovery process. This will help you understand the process of not only addiction but also the road to sobriety. Having this knowledge will help you become patient and more supportive.

2. Seek Your Counselor. 

As a caretaker, it can be easy to forget that you need support too! Caring for a loved one is important, but so is self-care. Believe it or not, receiving therapy for yourself helps your loved one in the long run. The healthier you are, the greater chance they have of being healthy as well. 

3. Set Boundaries. 

This can be a tough one. But it is a necessary step for all involved. Sometimes people call this step “tough love.” However, you choose to characterize it, setting boundaries helps the struggling family know that you care for them. Therefore, you will not allow behavior that is detrimental to them and the people they love. 

4. Do Not Cover Issues. 

A person struggling with addiction does have to face the consequences of their actions. Do not make excuses when they behave poorly or disrespectfully. 

5. Remain Positive. 

Often individuals who struggle will relapse. If this happens, remember to encourage your loved one and remind them that this is often part of the overall recovery process. Individuals who are constantly encouraged are more likely to encourage seeking professional help to overcome their addiction.

Take these points into consideration and prepare to have a wonderful holiday season, celebrating the ones you love. Support your family through addiction and believe that one day they will conquer it.

Be Well,