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3 ways to help your love ones with addiction

Many people don’t understand why or how other people become addicted to drugs. They may mistakenly think that those who use drugs lack moral principles or willpower and that they could stop their drug use simply by choosing to.

Some people that I work with are using drugs because they had been through difficult situations at home and had used illegal drugs or alcohol to ‘escape’, or try to forget about what was going on in their lives Some people drink or took drugs as a result of being in difficult childhood trauma, lack of self-love or suffering from depression.

Majority of addiction comes from past trauma which includes child molestation, child abuse, death of a loved one, being bullied, peer-pressure and lack of attention. Others comes from simply life stress, bad relationships, lack of self-confidence, self-image, family disputes, and financial struggles.

Children who have experienced complex trauma often have difficulty identifying, expressing, and managing emotions, and may have limited language for feeling states. They often internalize and/or externalize stress reactions and as a result may experience significant depression, anxiety, or anger. Their emotional responses may be unpredictable or explosive. A child may react to a reminder of a traumatic event with trembling, anger, sadness, or avoidance. With about two-thirds of all addicts having previously experienced some type of physical or sexual trauma during childhood, it’s extremely important to understand how childhood trauma causes increased vulnerability to addiction.Most of these children grow up having very little self –love and battle with depression.

According to more than 72,000 drug overdose deaths estimated in 2017, the sharpest increase occurred among deaths related to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs (synthetic opioids) with nearly 30,000 overdose deaths.The numbers are increasing among millennials. Isn’t that a shame!!!


Many people often want to better understand the causes of drug abuse. Outside of the physical realm, like the increased tolerance that leads to addiction – one may ask, what makes a person turn to drugs in the first place.

The answer to this question can vary from person to person. However, one answer that many researchers have agreed upon is low self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as a confidence in one’s own abilities.

When a person has low self-esteem, they may be more influenced by the world around them and their resulting actions. For example, a person with low self-esteem may have trouble overcoming negative thoughts or feelings and therefore turn to outside experiences or activities to change those negative thoughts into positive ones. Drugs can be one of the outside activities they turn to in a negative situation or state of mind.

Some of the things you should consider when you’re helping your love one with addiction;


It can be tough for loved ones, especially parents and significant others, not to take addiction personally. It’s not unusual to think that something you did caused them to use drugs or that you could’ve spared them from harm if only you did things differently.

Your involvement in their treatment and recovery can give them much-needed strength and support. Practice forgiveness and let go of the past so you can have that new beginning you have all worked toward.


Show you care through your behavior – always act with kindness and compassion. This is the elusive secret ingredient to successful interaction with a person who has an addiction. Addiction is so stigmatized in our society, that people who have addictions expect others to criticize, insult, and belittle them, and for friends and family to reject them. By accepting them – even if you don’t accept all of their behavior, you can start to build bridges to forgiveness and recovery.

  • Inspirethem without judgment – Since many recovering addicts feel judged by their families and friends, you should refrain from criticism and negativity as much as possible. Instead, express love for your loved one and praise their decision to maintain sobriety.
  • Create a substance-free environment – One of the biggest predictors of long-term recovery is whether or not users live in drug-free environments. Loved ones can protect a recovering addict’s surroundings by removing any drug paraphernalia and encouraging them to stay away from places that might tempt them to relapse.
  • Actively listen – Some recovering addicts need people to listen to them, so be available to listen to your loved one’s victories and struggles.
  • Encourage healthy habits – Cooking food, exercising and playing games are all positive, substance-free activities that recovering addicts can do with their loved ones.
  • Suggest joining a support group – In support groups, recovering addicts can interact with other recovering addicts while receiving encouragement.
  • Be patient – Recovery is a long and complicated process. People often make mistakes in recovery, so it’s important for them to know that their family and friends still support them when they mess up.


Dieters who reach their weight-loss goals often treat themselves to a new outfit. The same strategy may also assist people in recovery. The reward for reaching a certain milestone may be a party with friends and family, or something more personal like a special outing you’ve been putting off or a vacation or gourmet meal. Perhaps it’s as simple as a new gadget or piece of clothing, or time set aside for quiet meditation or a cooking class. It doesn’t matter what it is, so long as it motivates you toward ongoing recovery.

1 Comment

  • Stephen endres
    Posted September 19, 2018 at 9:59 pm

    This was very useful. Thank you. I find it interesting that listening and empathy are the one of the most important ingredients to helping people with any life issue.

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