Addiction: The Important Support Role of Family & Friends

Support groups for family members can really make a huge difference in situations where all the relationships are dominated by one person’s addiction and you don’t know where to turn next.  Even if you cannot persuade your addicted family member to reach out for help, people who are living in their sphere of influence, can seek help and get great benefits from receiving support by people in similar circumstances – people who know exactly what you are going through, and who will not judge you.  In support groups for family and friends, you will learn that you are not alone.  You will also be able to share your pain with others and give support as well.  Giving support to others can be very beneficial in restoring hope, in what feels like a hopeless situation.

Do Not Abandon Addicts To Their Fate

There is a huge difference between abandoning an addict to their fate, and denying the means for them to continue their addiction.  There are many reasons why it can be tempting to ‘give in’ to their pleadings for money to feed their addiction

  • it’s easier to give in, than denying them
  • you get tired of trying to help them when nothing ever changes
  • you love them and can’t bear to see their distress
  • you cannot bear to see their anger and resentment when you refuse them

Enabling an Addiction in Others is Counter Productive

Families will often ‘enable’ a family member who is developing an addiction, but this is counterproductive in the long run.  It can feel as if you are helping them, but in fact, the reverse is true.  Helping your family is what you have always wanted to do, but now the situation is different.

Now, helping them to do what they want to do, is allowing them to continue with their addiction.

Making addiction ‘easy’ for an addict will only allow them to get deeper into addiction sooner. Sometimes It’s only when some personal crisis occurs in an addict’s life that they are forced to confront reality and ask for help. See What Will It Take Before You Ask For Help.

Broadly speaking, there is a difference between withdrawing support, and abandoning someone to their fate.  This is a difficult area to negotiate in any relationship, and sometimes, the family and friends of addicts need to get professional advice, about what they should do in their particular circumstances.

Families need support, just as much as addicts do, and reaching out for help, support, and advice, is often helpful in limiting some the collateral damage that can be caused around addiction.

Places to get help include the family doctor, or the local Help Line. See
Who Do I Call?  These contacts will be able to give advice and information about how to access professional help.

The Value of Support Groups for Families

Support groups for family members can really make a huge difference in situations where all their relationships are dominated by one person’s addiction, and you don’t know where to turn next.  Even if you cannot persuade your addicted family member to reach out for help, people who are living in their sphere of influence, can seek help and get great benefits from receiving support by people in similar circumstances – people who know exactly what you are going through, and who will not judge you.  In support groups for family and friends, you will learn that you are not alone.  You will also be able to share your pain with others and give support as well.  Giving support to others can be very beneficial in restoring hope, in what can feel like a hopeless situation.

Support groups for families and friends can be found by getting in touch with the local Help Line, Who Do I Call, or by talking with your local doctor, or at the local doctor.  Do not underestimate the value of online Forums – they are a great source of hope and inspiration to many people affected by addiction.  They have the additional advantage of allowing you to remain anonymous if that is what you prefer.

The Value of Online Support Forums

There is a word of warning when looking online for support and advice – no website should be relied upon for medical advice – even this one.  This is because there is no substitute for personal interaction between you and a real medical doctor or counselor, in the real world.  In the example of this website, all the information found here is medically reliable, and backed up by the latest referenced research but…..I cannot diagnose anyone over the internet – I believe that no one can.  Reliable information is one thing, but individual diagnosis and treatment has to be done face to face, and in the real world, with a real life doctor or counselor.

In the case of forums, if you are getting support and encouragement from the members, that is fantastic, and useful.  But if anyone is telling you what is wrong with you, diagnosing you, telling what you should do, or telling you what drugs to take or stop taking – do not listen to them.

Advice about seeking help, or seeing a real life doctor, is excellent advice, but medical diagnosis and appropriate treatment cannot not found on an Internet Forum.

It is dangerous to rely on forum advice, unless that advice is that you should consult a real life doctor or counselor.   Go to Forums for support, and to support others – they are terrific for that, but that is all they can do to help you.

Frequently, an addicted person will not appreciate what they consider to be interference in their life choices, by their family.  But it’s still important for their family and friends, to know how best to deal with the problems that arise, even if the person concerned is not yet prepared to accept any help, or face reality.

Getting real life advice and support from a health professional should be step number one.  Then extra Support can be added from real life Support Groups and/or on the Internet.  The main thing is to get both: Support and reliable advice.  You cannot help anyone if you, yourself, get dragged down by the situation you find yourself in, and also become ill. That doesn’t help anyone.

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