Addiction plagues many people across the globe, and can even extend to our loved ones. When the shadow of addiction is cast over someone you care about, don’t stay silent—take action and be there for them. Let’s take a look at five good reasons to support someone in overcoming an addiction.
1. Motivation can build someone up so that they feel strong enough to take the first steps.
Many people struggle with whether or not to take the “tough love” approach, but it’s important not to take that step without looking at all aspects of the situation first. More and more people have been finding that motivation from a friend or peer does wonders to help addicts face up to the difficult first steps of overcoming their addictions. This is best done in an encouraging, supportive way that raises their self-esteem and motivation. Revving someone up and getting them more enthusiastic about finding help gives them a substantial boost, and building up their self-esteem and willpower might be just what it takes to help them find the help they need.
2. Simply being there for a loved one will strengthen them.
Keeping someone company while they face what may be the biggest obstacles of their life can be a crucial part of helping them battle their addiction. Dealing with the internal struggles and complex emotions that arise as a result of being addicted and confronting the problem can feel extremely alienating. It’s easy for any struggling or recovering addict to feel that they are alone on their road to recovery. If they feel alone, they’re more likely to relapse—so make sure to take time to simply be there for them through their struggles, even if it’s only as a shoulder to cry on or a listening ear. Knowing that they’re not alone may give someone the resolve to keep fighting.
3. Accountability is a big motivator when overcoming addiction.
When struggling to overcome an addiction, accountability can be a huge help. If someone’s left to battle an obstacle like addiction by themselves, they’re forced to rely on their own strength and willpower alone. This can be extremely difficult to handle, and can result in faltering through recovery or relapses down the road. People are much less likely to give in to temptation or exhaustion when they’re held accountable by those around them. Accountability partners build up the recovering addict’s expectations of themselves and remind them that they can overcome their difficulties and stay strong. Being present for a recovering addict can motivate them to stay on track and stay strong for both themselves and others.
4. Compassion is a more effective way of helping overcome addiction.
While harsher approaches like threatening to evict an addict who isn’t successful at recovering, or putting the spotlight on them during a classic “intervention” have been go-to methods for some time, they may not be effective. Studies have found much less correlation between these approaches and a successful outcome than previously thought. A compassionate, gentle way of supporting an addict and helping them recover might be far more effective. A large part of addiction is often linked to brain development, meaning that as younger addicts grow and change over time, they’re likely to overcome their addiction without harsh interventions or punishments. Being there for them as they grow out of some of the difficulty of their circumstances will them a world of good.
5. Addiction requires ongoing, long-term treatment.
Addiction isn’t overcome in a few short group meetings or therapist visits—it requires an ongoing investment of time and effort. When a recovering addict is on the road to wellness and decides that they are finished with formal treatment, then those close to them are the ones best equipped to provide ongoing help and support. If you know someone personally, you’re likely to be familiar with their habits and personalities, and be able to provide them with long-term support to ensure that they recover and stay clean.
People have often thought of addiction as something that, first and foremost, requires professional intervention or treatment to overcome. While these methods can certainly help plenty of people, it’s critical to support a recovering addict on a personal basis through their difficult times. Being present and nurturing towards someone who’s struggling to overcome an addiction will help motivate them to get on the path to recovery, encourage them to stay on it, and give them the strength they need to achieve and retain their victory.