Friends and Family Resources
By The Recovery Village Ridgefield
Last Updated: May 31, 2023
Editorial Policy | Research Policy
Do you have a loved one that is struggling with substance use disorder? Family members and friends can play an important part in someone’s recovery. A patient in recovery has a much higher chance of success if he or she has a strong support system. So what can you do if you are the family member or friend of someone suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction? There are many actions you can take to be helpful.
Understanding the Signs and Symptoms of Addiction
In many situations, the first people to notice the signs of a drug or alcohol addiction are the friends and family of the person who is suffering. They may be hesitant to intervene because they are afraid to drive a wedge in between them and their loved one. In some cases, family and friends allow substance abuse to go on because it can serve a purpose. For example, letting a spouse drink heavily on weekends to cope with the stresses of their job during the week may help them to maintain their employment.
It’s extremely important for your health and safety as well as the health and wellbeing of your loved one to respond whenever you notice any signs of addiction. Here are the most common signs of drug and alcohol addiction:
- Isolation from friends or family
- Loss of interest in activities that used to interest them
- Failures at school or work
- Changes in body weight or appetite
- Bloodshot or watery eyes
- Tremors or shakiness at different times of day
- Irregular sleep patterns
- Excessive sweating
- Dramatic mood swings
- Secretive behavior
- Anxiety and restlessness
Encouraging a Loved One to Seek Treatment
When you are dealing with the reality of a loved one who is suffering from drug or alcohol addiction, it’s perfectly natural to feel overwhelmed or scared. How can you confront someone who isn’t acting like themselves? When a person is in the throes of addiction, he or she can become so distant, so unlike the person you know and love, it can feel impossible to reach them. However, it is more important than ever that you find the strength and courage to intervene.
The best way to initiate this process is to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your relative, friend or loved one. Be direct and honest, and tell them what you have witnessed. Let them know you are concerned about them and that you are speaking from a place of love. Don’t be critical or judgmental at this time. If your loved one has hurt you in the past when they were deep in active addiction, you will be able to address those issues later with a therapist.
If you have tried to have a one-on-one conversation without success, seek the advice of a trusted addiction specialist or healthcare professional. A marriage counselor, healthcare provider, substance abuse therapist, 12-step sponsor or spiritual advisor will be able to provide you with advice on how to handle the situation with your loved one.
Holding an Intervention: What You Need to Know
If you have tried everything and you still can’t get through to your loved one, an intervention may be necessary. This is a formal, rehearsed meeting in which multiple loved ones gather to express their concerns to the person suffering from substance use disorder and express their concern that the person needs to seek treatment.
In many cases, someone deeply in active addiction will seek help willingly. However, in many cases, they will need to be faced with the consequences of refusing treatment. As part of the intervention process, you should seek out a treatment center in advance so that your loved one can begin his or her path to recovery right away.
Is Drug or Alcohol Rehab Right for Your Loved One?
If you have a friend or family member who is suffering from drug and/or alcohol addiction, it’s important that you encourage them to seek treatment. At The Recovery Village Ridgefield, we are staffed with addiction specialists who are committed to helping those who are struggling with substance use disorder to begin a path to recovery. Though we are located close to Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon, we have many patients from all over the country.
If your loved one is suffering from substance use disorder, give us a call today. Speak to one of our compassionate addiction specialists and find out more about the best plan of treatment for your loved one.
Our Recovery Advocates are ready to answer your questions about addiction treatment and help you start your recovery.