Your Loved Ones and Your Addiction: How Family and Friends Can Help

Addiction can be extremely alienating. The stigma behind it has created a demographic of people who suffer in silence, afraid of being judged by those closest to them. People who, in fact, wish to seek treatment but do not because of the worry that their loved ones will reject them due to their illness.

Telling one’s family about their addiction, however, can be the best start to getting help with recovery and healing. It can create a support system to add to the toolbox that one is going to have to create when they choose to no longer partake of their self medication of choice.

Said support system can be formed in many ways: family only, friends only, some family and some friends. It’s up to the individual to choose who to open up to, who feels safest and actually confide in them.

To have a support system that has a solid foundation can absolutely be a game-changer in one’s life. One who is battling addiction will need the strongest foundation possible. A safety net and concrete foundation to there should be the first two floors in their “House of Help,”  which should ideally be comprised of the people they love and care about most, who love and care about them, and those who are not associated with the addiction itself. From that foundation built out of trust, their toolbox can be fast filled with other ways to cope during the recovery process that is tailored to suit, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, talk therapy, medication, and more. That foundation can be used to prevent relapse, to offer a sounding board during times where one’s outlook is bleak, and even as a way to strengthen the bonds between the individual and their loved ones. One no longer has to suffer alone and alienated.

This act of confiding in family and friends does not need to be shameful. It does not need to be apologetic. It can be strong, loud, and if the individual so chooses, it can be a point of pride that they are seeking help and trusting those they love the most.

Addiction recovery should not be viewed as a low point in the individual’s life where they’re climbing back up from rock bottom, which is a common misconception. Surrounded by support, that individual can stake their claim, instead,  on the summit that comes from what can seem like the mountainous journey through recovery, with all the pride that comes from healing more and more every day.