Information for Family Members
To Loved Ones or Family Members Who Are Concerned About Opiate Addiction.
We admire your courage and strength in seeking help for your loved one. Caring for someone struggling with dependency is one of the most difficult situations to endure. We hope our website will provide you with some helpful information. Please feel free to call us with specific questions regarding your family’s situation. This web page is meant as a resource for family members struggling with opiate addiction.
Sometimes it is very difficult to reach out for help for someone you love or care about who is experiencing addiction or substance abuse problems. Many times we feel the following:
- We are being disloyal.
- We are deceiving them and going behind their backs.
- We are “butting in” or getting involved in their private lives.
- We are not allowing them to take care of it themselves.
Some important facts to consider are:
- You are not being disloyal. Trying to find help for someone you care about is a form of “active” love.
- The family member or person you are concerned about probably knows they have a problem. They may be unable to initiate the action they need to get help.
- There is nothing you can do that that will make them “sicker”.
- If they could take care of it themselves they probably would have a long time ago.
In dealing with addiction or substance abuse problems it is important to understand the following:
- Addiction is a disease, classified this way by numerous health organizations. Many individuals are genetically predisposed to the disease of addiction. Often others individuals within a family have struggled with addiction to drugs, alcohol or other harmful behaviors.
- The individual you are trying to help is not a bad person who needs to become a good person, but a sick person who needs treatment to get well.
Addiction is characterized by three things:
One of the main symptoms of addiction is “DENIAL”. Denial comes in many forms. Some of these are:
A loved one’s addiction affects us in many ways. Sometimes this is referred to as “co-dependency. Co-dependency is characterized by the following:
- Rescuing behaviors.
- Covering up for the addict.
- Controlling behaviors.
- Physical and emotional effects of our own.
In dealing with someone you love or care about who has an addiction the following are important;
- Don’t support the addict in their denial system.
- Be honest and direct.
Remember the following:
- You did not cause it.
- You cannot control it.
- You cannot cure it.
Support the addict in a realistic healthy way to get help.
Help can be in the form of;
- Genuine acceptance of their disease.
- Obtaining resources for them for detoxification and treatment.
- Setting boundaries and limits.
- Obtaining professional consultation to consider an “intervention” for your loved one.
It is also important to get help for yourself through, counseling, 12 step groups such as Al-anon, open AA/NA meetings. If you need help in finding these resources you can call us at (773) 883-3906.