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Addiction has effects that are widespread. Here we will go into some steps you can for anyone wondering how to help an addict.

The book and subsequent movie A River Runs Through It is ostensibly about fishing. On a deeper level it gets to the roots of family ties and the difficulty of watching someone we love move down a path that will likely harm them.

One of the ways the Maclean brothers try to help someone is simply by taking him fishing. And there is a simple beauty to that.

But there are times where things feel even more desperate. When going fishing won’t help, the author, Norman Maclean, writes, “Help,” he said, “is giving part of yourself to somebody who comes to accept it willingly and needs it badly.”

Addiction is a disease that affects a person and the hurt moves outward and embraces anyone who loves them. Sometimes we want to help, but we have no idea where to start.

A bottle of first aid isopropyl alcohol stands next to a glass filled with the liquid, emphasizing the dangerous and harmful act of drinking rubbing alcohol

How to Help an Addict

While the most pressing concern is to get your loved one on the road to recovery, not knowing where or how to get them the best help can be daunting.

Substance use disorder is often tangled in deception and defensiveness, making it more challenging to support a loved one. As you try to overcome the fear and confusion of addiction, here are some options to help you be their much-needed support pillar.

Educate Yourself

Getting as much information as possible about addiction is the first step to supporting your addicted loved one. Educating yourself helps you understand addiction and the steps it takes to help your loved one overcome it.

You better understand yourself and your loved one’s struggle when you know what addiction does to them and how you can help. There are numerous resources for information on addiction. You can get the information online, from books, or from support groups of people who’ve been there.

Here are a few places you can start with EagleCrest resources:

Is addiction a disease?

What are the symptoms of substance use disorder?

What makes a good inpatient rehab center?

What is a withdrawal and what to expect?

Have Compassion

When someone has a physical illness, many people are compassionate and willing to help them survive and beat the odds. The same compassion should apply to those suffering from addiction. Understand that addiction isn’t a choice or character flaw but a rather destructive disorder.

Compassion opens your mind to understanding the events or reasons that lead to addiction. It puts you in a better position to help a loved one and builds trust, a necessary ingredient for lasting recovery.

Don’t Shame or Criticize

It is easy to point a finger and fault an addict for their actions. However, before doing so, understand that substance use disorders are not as straightforward as they may seem. It’s hard to pinpoint the last step to your loved one’s fall off the cliff. Even if you could, shaming or criticizing them does nothing for either of you.

The most important thing for a person with an addiction is finding help for addiction. They don’t need to hear about their mistakes or what they are doing wrong. This is not productive and can have the opposite effect, pushing your loved one further away.

Talk to Them

As the adage goes, a problem shared is half solved. Talk to your friend or loved one with positivity and compassion. Encourage them with kind words and affirmations and support their journey through actions that will show them love and understanding. But also let them know what their addiction has done to you. The harm it causes and the pain you experience.

Offering hope for a successful long-term recovery, love, and compassion is an important way to support your loved ones and give them the strength to overcome the hard days. But it is also important for them to know that their actions are affecting other people they care about.

Know Your Options

Addiction treatment can be a confusing aspect of recovery. It is vital for a person who needs help to find the treatment that will work best for them. If your loved one has opened to the idea of getting help for their substance use disorder, it is good to have a plan in mind.

This is where we can help you. If you have already talked to someone who has an addiction about rehab, or are planning to do it soon, we would like to help. Our addiction specialists are available to talk you through the plan for placement in an addiction treatment program near you and what steps are necessary to make the transition a smooth one.

EagleCrest Recovery in Northwest Arkansas offers treatment for drug and alcohol use disorders, and our team is ready to talk. Call today: (844) 439-7627.