If your spouse, sibling, parent, a close friend, or relative is addicted to alcohol, some tips are coming from experts on how you can help them with their problem. Alcohol addiction, or any addiction for that matter, is a mental health issue. The person with the problem is the only one who can will himself to stop what he’s doing unless he is forced to check in to rehab or be imprisoned. According to Steve Bressert, Ph.D. , “Studies indicate that many people drink as a means of coping with modern life and its accompanying economic stress, job stress and marital discord.”
“For family and friends of drug- or alcohol-addicted individuals, addressing the addiction is one of the most difficult aspects of helping the addicted person seek treatment,” says Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC. As a mother, you can never forget the days when you were carrying your child inside your womb. You have experienced so many things during your pregnancy like morning sickness and food cravings, and it was the experience of a lifetime. It was tough, yes, but you told yourself that you would survive all of this for your child.
During labor, the pain was unbearable, and you may feel like it’s the end of your life. But all of the pain melts away upon seeing your child alive and breathing. You witnessed how he grew, his first step, his first meal, and his many first’s. The feeling was like no other – it was the best!
However, as he or she got older, your child has made decisions that are sometimes wrong. One of those is using illegal substances. As a parent, you tend to search for answers as to why your child fell into this situation. You either blame yourself or blame your child.
How do you guide your child (especially an adult) properly who has fallen into the drug addiction habit? Here are some tips to follow.
Make your child understand that his or her decision was wrong.
It is critical to making your child understand that his or her poor choices have led to this situation. You also need to explain that your whole family is affected by that one wrong decision made by your child. As your child gains insight into the things that you are describing, it will be easier to convince him or her to opt for treatment. “Discuss doing an intervention if your alcoholic loved one won’t willingly seek help.,” suggests Drew W. Edwards, Ed.D., MS.
Strengthen the bond between you or your child.
In times like this, your child needs your unconditional love. He or she might not express it to you directly, but they need your support. Start off by talking to them on a regular basis, have more time for parent-child bonding and create new memories. Never let your child feel that he or she is alone or abandoned.
Seek help from a specialist.
Never think that you can save your child from his addiction all alone. Always seek help from a medical professional or a drug addiction therapist and specialist to help your child recover. According to Cindy Nichols, “All recovering addicts face triggers throughout all stages of sobriety. Having access to a sponsor and a group of people you can turn to when you are tempted provides a healthy alternative to succumbing to triggers.”
Convince your child to go for treatment.
As your bond strengthens, it will be harder for your child to say no to the “rehab” or “therapy” talk. Once you’ve convinced your child to go into treatment, be sure that all the support he or she needs will be provided for complete recovery.
Correct your child for the improper behavior.
Do not tolerate any bad behavior by your child. The better choice is to start again with the discipline cycle just like when he was little. He may not be entirely aware of his or her behavior because of the influence of drugs.
It is mandatory that you make your child understand completely that he or she is wrong.
Safeguard the whole family.
Addiction can lead to violence. Make sure that the rest of your family is safe. Set strictly implemented rules in your household to prevent any harm from taking place.
Practice loving yourself.
Motherhood is a 24/7 job. It has no day off and no salary. Despite giving so much for the rest of your family, make sure that you also give yourself some love.
While your child is in the process of recovery, you might lose yourself too with stress and worry. So make sure that you are doing recreational activities that will not lead you to depression while waiting for your child to get better and become drug-free.
You may not know it, but you have married an addict. And once you’ve realized how into deep the addiction has become, it has already ruined your life, your family, and your marriage; because addiction, much like a spiteful third party, can drive a significant wedge between partners and create a massive gaping divide that can be difficult to heal. “You love the person and want to reach out to them and help them, but at the same time you don’t want to contribute to their alcohol abuse or dependence,” quotes Drew W. Edwards, Ed.D., MS.
But there’s still a spark of hope of not wholly washing everything down the gutter, and that is couples counseling. However, not every couple is willing to put their feet forward and seek help. Instead, what they do is push it down and pretend that they resolved the underlying problem. But that is where they’re wrong.
Why “we” refuse
Scientifically speaking, couples counseling is, more often than not, effective in mending shattered relationships that are ripped apart by negative consequences. According to Wendy L. Patrick, JD, Ph.D., “By intentionally avoiding compromising situations, they also avoid relational complications. Happy couples maintain their relationships by enjoying each other, not eyeing alternatives.” However, people might render it ineffective due to reasons that are usually the couple’s fault. Some of the excuses why couples refuse to go into counseling are:
“We don’t want to.”
The “we” is so much as identified as either being a “she” or “he” for the reason that the other might be hesitant or is on the verge of consideration and the other is not convinced at all. And sometimes, due to fear of the partner, the decision of not going into therapy is more likely one-sided.
“We’ll get past it.”
Addiction within the relationship is not something you’ll “easily get over.” Believing, even for a second, that you can weather this storm is honestly, absurd and irresponsible. When you or your partner has already drowned yourselves in alcohol or drugs, it takes more than just talking to each other or pleading for the desire to cease. Because when the trigger arises, the addiction resumes.
“This is about the addiction and not about our relationship.”
One of the common misconceptions counseling meant for addressing an addiction problem within the relationship is that the focus should be on the addiction and the addict with the exclusion of the other half. What couples need to understand is that there are particular concealed reasons behind habit and one of it is because of the stress brought about by family or being in a relationship. You may not be aware of it, but you are causing your partner’s addiction and making it worse. Through couples counseling, both of you figure out when the obsession started and how to resolve it. Only then will medical professionals focus their attention on relieving the dependence through various forms of therapies.
What’s stupid is allowing addiction into your lives and making it stay. Couples often decline to seek counsel because they feel ashamed that their colleagues or friends might judge them knowing that a once perfectly-polished relationship, once envied and gushed over, is now on the brink of falling apart. If you have friends who don’t recognize that there is an underlying problem or do not convince you to go into therapy, the best thing to do is to block them. You don’t need people who cannot help you in these kinds of circumstances. You are dealing with a lot of problems, and you shouldn’t waste your time worrying what others might think of your relationship.
The mother of all lies. What’s more dangerous and pretentious than claiming that you can surpass severe addiction with nothing more than just communication is denying that it even exists. To renounce something that is obviously discernible is detrimental and unhealthy; this, by the way, makes you an enabler. An enabler is someone who encourages negative behaviors that are destructive. By not seeking professional help, you are enabling the addiction, magnifying it to the point of recklessness and potential wreckage in your life.
It’s now or never
Addiction may come in any form and can happen to a person before or during the relationship. So, to answer the question, “Can couples counseling salvage our relationship that’s affected by addiction?” Yes, it can. By going through a series of therapies, couples will be able to efficiently identify the cause of the problem, find ways to resolve it, and eventually reinforce positive treatments for the addiction. “Addiction therapy is supported heavily by positive and frequent family involvement,” according to Steven Gifford, LICDC, LPC.