Alcohol and drug dependency can be isolating for the 19.7 millions of Americans intimately familiar with the struggle. The selfish nature of the disease convinces individuals that because it’s a personal battle, it should be handled alone. This can fuel guilt, shame, and even desperation for relief that provides little incentive for individuals to actually seek help. Family members may feel desperate to find answers to help their loved ones. They may begin questioning how to help someone stop drinking without them knowing so they don’t resist aid when it’s presented. Is it possible?
By focusing on the whole person, alcohol and drug treatment programs with AspenRidge can better provide tailored support. This also means supporting family members during this difficult journey. If you’re struggling with what to do and overwhelmed with the idea of helping someone with addiction, you’re not alone. Call for help 855-281-5588.
Recognizing Care: Relationships & Addiction
Important relationships are woven into an everyday experience. We interact with family and friends, plus colleagues and other acquaintances on a regular basis and those nurtured relationships are important. They provide care, love, support, and understanding, making it easier to face difficult situations. What happens when those relationships begin to endure the ramifications of ongoing drug abuse? Those support systems can easily crumble under the weight of addiction.
Hiding bad habits from loved ones is a common reality within family dynamics. It’s understandable that a person experiencing alcohol or drug abuse may not want to worry or upset the people they love. But as an addiction spirals out of control, it can leave the user and family members feeling lost and alone. Helping someone with addiction is not supposed to be common knowledge. The first step is to understand that it’s not your fault, nor is it your obligation to understand how to treat addiction.
Basics of Addiction
Fact is, life is a collaborative process. Understand that addiction impacts more than one person.
Addiction specialists have found that treating substance abuse is best done holistically and using evidence-based approaches. It includes care and support for loved ones; after all, addiction never affects just one person. Communities across the nation are experiencing the wide, rippled impacts of drug use. Helping someone with addiction may seem like an important life skill, but where can you start?
As it is, the act of supporting someone with an addiction can be demanding and incredibly taxing. Family members may have minimal personal experience with drug use and therefore may not fully understand how this disease can take hold of a person’s life so completely.
From an outside perspective, it’s difficult to consider why or how a person becomes addicted to alcohol or drugs in the first place. They may mistakenly assume that it’s a lack of ethics, moral principles, or a lack of willpower. They may believe that a person can simply stop at any time. The realities of addiction demonstrate that these myths do more to exacerbate the problems of substance abuse rather than work to resolve them. Factors that can impact addiction may include:
- Environmental influences
- Mental Health
This list, however, doesn’t provide clarity on helping someone toward sobriety. Regardless of how addiction evolves, underlying factors and relationships should be addressed as they can determine long-term outcomes.
Support vs Enabling: Helping Someone with Addiction
Once someone has decided to engage in recovery, it’s critical to support that person without enabling their addictive behaviors. Learn more on support vs enabling here. In order to address how to make someone stop drinking without them noticing, it’s important to understand how your behavioral actions might be positively or negatively impacting your loved one. As yourself the following questions:
- Is there an open line of communication concerning alcohol use?
Support is not enabling. Helping someone with an addiction means understanding their drug use is not a character flaw or an excuse. It’s a disease that impacts the mind and body, and can have lasting impact. From a family member’s perspective, witnessing addiction and its effects can feel like its own form of abuse, though. You can feel ostracized and alone in addressing the situation. You may fear judgment and may think the best approach is to ignore it until the problem fixes itself.
Supportive actions can actually help steer substance abuse toward recovery. First, it’s important to know how to avoid enabling actions.
Enabling, when spelled out may seem obvious. However, addiction occurs differently in every person. It’s often a gradual disease that takes time to increase in severity. Enabling a person with substance abuse disorder (SUD) may not be evident, but rather a progression that becomes commonplace. Common enabling behaviors include:
- Making excuses
- Shameful comments
- Invitations to use
- Ignoring an individual when asking for help
Enabling and using non-supportive behaviors can have drastic impacts on the victim, family and friends managing the course of substance abuse. Helping someone with addiction begins with the basic principle of support and care.
How to Help Someone Stop Drinking Without Them Knowing
First and foremost, when supporting a partner or family member who is in an active addiction to alcohol or other drugs, it’s critically important to ensure that personal obligations and needs are met first. Taking care of your own well-being allows you to better aid someone in the journey to recovery. Psychology Today notes that this is a “balancing act of offering support to your loved one in navigating the treatment and recovery options available, while at the same time not losing sight of what you need to be happy and healthy.”
Supporting works differently than enablement as it holds the person accountable for their actions and choices regarding alcohol or drug use. By being supportive, the individual dealing with addiction can feel empowered, confident, and motivated to start a healthy lifestyle and define sobriety for themselves.
Physicians and counselors often consider supportive family and friends to be a resilience factor that can help individuals avoid relapse. Resiliency factors are those areas in life that will help develop safe coping strategies and proper expression of emotions without the use of alcohol or other drugs. The more resiliency factors one reports is often correlated with higher success rates and less relapses.
Other supportive measures to consider include sense of purpose, community, and self-esteem. Common supportive behaviors include:
- Being open and honest
- Becoming an active listener
- Asking appropriate and clarifying questions
- Developing sober routines
- Eliminating judgements
- Maintaining accountability
Simply trying to connect and relate to the issues a loved one may be experiencing is beneficial. Unfortunately, navigating unfamiliar terrain regarding drug abuse is not always easy. There may be varying degrees of anger and resentment toward the problem. Finding a recovery center that addresses family-specific concerns is important. Learn more about AspenRidge’s Family Program here.
Helping Someone with Addiction: Resources
AspenRidge has developed a phase oriented process for those struggling with alcohol or other drug use. AspenRidge operates from an evidence-based, as well as holistic perspective and is dedicated to tailoring treatment to match individual and family needs.
Supportive family and friends are critical to maintaining sobriety and our addiction specialists can help you to navigate these complexities. You may also find some helpful resources from previous blogs as well as community support centers nearby. Learn more:
- How to Talk to a Family Member About Their Drinking
- Why do People Use Drugs?
- Codependency and Addiction
- Addiction Resources for Family Members
Colorado Addiction Support: AspenRidge Recovery
Prospective clients and family may contact AspenRidge Recovery Centers at 855-281-5588 to speak to staff about various programs, or to discuss current family resources available. Gaining knowledge prior to taking the steps towards recovery is important and AspenRidge is determined to provide clear information. Learning how to help someone stop drinking without them knowing is not an easy undertaking. Contacting addiction specialists may help you to better understand how addiction works and the best steps to take to help support them through recovery.