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10 Steps To Help A Loved One Overcome Drug Addiction

July 7, 2021

Drug abuse is a tricky issue to tackle. Nothing hurts more than seeing a friend or a loved one suffer from such a disease. When someone struggles with drug addiction, the most important thing is to help them feel like they are not alone. If you’re looking for more action about tips on how to help a loved one overcome drug addiction, read below for a comprehensive guide.

Recognizing The Problem

Before the recovery can start, the patient first has to admit that they have a problem. In this case, the problem is drug dependence. They should be able to admit this to themselves so that they can truly begin the path to recovery.

As they recognize that they have a problem, all they need is a listening ear and a comforting presence to encourage them to take the next steps to recovery. As they admit that they have a problem, make sure to lend a listening ear. Be a person that they can trust and not be judgmental.

Denial Vs. Acceptance

This is the first phase in recognizing the problem and this is where most patients struggle the most. Denial is dangerous because it prolongs the substance abuse problem and treatment becomes more challenging if it is not medicated immediately.

As a loved one, it is part of your roles to guide the patient from denial to acceptance. This starts by removing all aspects of blame and shame, so that they can humbly accept the gravity of the situation and begin with recovery.

Make The Decision To Change

As soon as your loved one opens up to you about his issue, make sure to guide him to the correct direction so that he will make the decision to change. We remind him of the list of benefits of living a sober and drug-free life. Help them evaluate the past decisions and show them that they are capable of setting attainable goals that will give them a sober and healthy life.

Help Them Overcome Pride And Fear

The path to recovery is hard and scary for the patient. There’s also the chance that they will feel too proud to proceed with the humbling experience of becoming sober. The best you can do is to be a supportive and loving entity that will guide them towards getting the help that they need.


This is probably the hardest part of recovering from drug dependence. This is where the patient gets rid of all traces of drugs from his system so that his body can learn how to survive without it again. Others describe this stage where the “fog gets lifted” because with it comes mental clarity. This step is usually performed once the patient is admitted inside an inpatient addiction center. This is the most advisable way to achieve a drug detox because this process can get extremely uncomfortable for the patient. 

For example, depending on his addiction, his body may exhibit extreme withdrawal symptoms. This includes headaches, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, muscle pain, lack of appetite, and more. Being admitted to an inpatient facility allows the patient to be surrounded by medical professionals who can intervene when these symptoms materialize. Being in a confined treatment center also ensures that they won’t relapse.

The main goal of detoxification is to help the patient transition from being dependent on drugs to a person fully capable of making healthy and positive personal choices. That is more likely when there are no distracting thoughts of an addiction that will make them stray away from the path to recovery.

Educate Them

Another way to help a loved one is to educate them about the entire process of overcoming drug addiction. Increased awareness can help them in the recovery process by allowing them to picture out that it is a problem that can be totally solved for as long as they have dedication and commitment to the process. You can educate them by watching educational videos together, reading useful material, and being aware of the long-term harmful effects of such an issue.

Professionals are also heavily involved in this process. They use group settings to help the patient take a full look at the causes and effects of their actions. Getting them on the phone with someone familiar with the recovery process can also be encouraging. This way they can get an idea of what the process entails.

Admit Them To Rehab

Inpatient and outpatient treatment centers are very useful and effective in terms of eliminating drug dependence. That’s because these facilities are equipped with professionals that have decades’ worth of experience in tackling drug dependence. If you are worried about the costs, you may check some options that are available in your health insurance plans so that you can help your loved one without breaking the bank. The treatment plan is also determined by a counselor and or therapist after a thorough examination of the patient’s condition.

Obviously, your rehab of choice will heavily influence the success rate of your loved one’s recovery. You can start by looking at the nearby rehab centers in your place. There are also different types of programs available that can be applied depending on the patient’s needs. 

  1. Partial Hospitalization Program – This provides clinical diagnostics and medical services at an intensity that matches the patient’s needs, much like inpatient rehab except that it does not take up the full 24 hours per day of the patient.
  2. Intensive Outpatient Program – The patient does not reside in the rehab center but is required to commit a lot of time per week for progress reports and checkups. 
  3. Outpatient Program Or Continued Care – This is advised for milder cases wherein the patient has some degree of independence. The patient will be required to commit a few hours per week for group therapy, personal therapy, and more.
  4. Sober Living – These are alcohol- and drug-free environments where the patient can reside in so that he will not relapse because he won’t be in the presence of these addictive substances. 

Sign Up For Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy is the most popular way to tackle drug dependence. This involves behavioral modification so that the patient will be able to do some reality testing and address urges to drink or use, or to address more general problems in their lives. These therapy sessions usually allow the patient to form life skills and mental strategies so that they can have healthier coping mechanisms for their personal problems. In that way, they can manage their stress better and won’t turn to drugs as a reprieve from their stressful situation.

A technique used within this therapeutic approach includes assessing events that can be called “activating event” or “precipitating event” that based on the individual’s belief, cause a consequence, behavior, or reaction. Oftentimes when this is an unuseful reaction there is a flaw in the belief system. Using contrary evidence or disputation this belief can be addressed and corrected, which then leads to the “new effect” or “desired consequence”.

Be A Reliable Support System

Having a drug dependent relative is tricky because it’s very important for them to feel like they are supported all throughout the process, no matter how hard it gets. At the moment they feel like they are alone or they have no one to turn to, they risk having a relapse and the cycle of recovering and relapsing will just continue to ruin their lives.

 As the family members of recovering patients, you have an obligation to always be supportive and available until such time that the patient recovers enough. They can be independent.

There are other forms of support systems that you can also introduce, like 12-step programs or group therapy sessions. There are also alumni support systems that help provide support and inspiration to the current patients. It also helps to admit a patient in a sober living environment wherein they can interact with fellow recovering patients. These communities stimulate compassion for one another and it helps each patient feel less alone and feel more motivated to be a part of the sober community.

These community discussions will help the patient feel less alone as they realize that so many other people are going through the same hardships as they are and that these issues can be eliminated.

Remove All Sources Of Drugs

As the patient transitions from inpatient rehab to outpatient treatment, the patient will have the option to reside at home. Do your part by making sure that there are no traces of drugs in the house or within the area. It helps to keep a close eye on the patient’s activities so that they will no longer get involved in scenarios that involve drugs, like parties or other social gatherings.

Another step is to purge their gadgets of any potential contacts that may be their supplier. Go through their emails, phone contacts, and even social media contacts so that these can be deleted.

Rebuilding A New Life

Most recovering patients will describe rehab and recovery as a chance to be reborn as a sober person. Be supportive of your loved one’s desire to get rid of the problematic past by encouraging them to their new life. As they build healthier habits or pick-up new interests, support them and encourage them as they spend their energy and attention on things that can help them go and recover. You may do so by participating in their new hobbies or by expressing your appreciation for their progress.

The most important thing to remember about this entire process is that progress isn’t linear. You can anticipate hiccups, but remember that that doesn’t mean that your loved one is back to square one. Similarly, it’s important to recognize that recovery isn’t the end goal simply because it is not the end. Recovery is a life-long process which means that your love and support should extend for eternity. Trust the process and believe that your best efforts will encourage your loved one to be strong enough to make positive choices for lasting change.

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