How Can I Help Loved Ones Understand Addiction?

How Can I Help Loved Ones Understand Addiction?

When you are recovering from addiction, it becomes clear that some who have not experienced addiction firsthand may struggle to understand it. It can feel isolating when your loved ones do not know what you're going through. Helping your loved ones to understand addiction better involves taking it one step at a time to build more effective communication.

Addiction is a family disease. Addiction to one family member can create toxicity in the entire unit. At Enlightened Solutions, we believe in incorporating loved ones into the healing and recovery process.

Can My Loved Ones Understand Addiction?

Without experiencing addiction firsthand, your loved ones will have a different perspective on addiction. However, they can understand it as they learn alongside you. Loved ones are likely to have frustrations. Your behavior, choices, and journey are unfamiliar to them, which can be frustrating. Additionally, addiction commonly brings chaos, which likely has impacted their lives as well as your own.

There are certain aspects of addiction that you can help your loved ones to understand. By incorporating them into your treatment, they can learn about addiction as a disease. At Enlightened Solutions, we help family members to understand that addiction is a disease. As they learn about the different aspects of addiction, it can give them a more educated perspective that goes beyond their direct experience of watching you struggle with substance abuse.

Your loved ones can also learn by communicating with you during your treatment. In family sessions, all parties have their turn to speak and share. Both sharing and listening are educational experiences. Your loved ones have the opportunity to learn about your direct experience with addiction and be able to share theirs. This setting helps all members to communicate, connect, and understand each other better.

Benefits of Your Loved One's Participation in Treatment

You and your loved ones make up a family system. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), when a family member's thinking and response to addiction changes, the entire family system changes. This, in turn, has a very positive outcome for all involved.

It is helpful when your family understands addiction and how they can support you in a way that benefits you and them. Their participation in treatment provides the tools to protect their health and aid in the recovery process. While every family unit looks different, family therapy in addiction treatment often includes learning about boundaries, communication, and respect. This will be two-sided, meaning you and your loved ones will both need to make adjustments to these aspects of your relationship.

There are many benefits of including your loved ones in treatment. Below we will outline a few that can be highly impactful for you and your loved ones.

Family Healing

Addiction often causes a tremendous amount of damage to your relationship with your loved ones. In Enlightened Solutions' family program, we work to address this. We want to involve family and loved ones in the process of healing so that they can heal alongside you. When this is facilitated in a safe environment, such as a family program, it is more likely to be successful. You and your loved ones will learn the skills needed to both heal and move forward with an improved relationship.

Family healing means more than simply addressing each individual. It is a unique blend of addressing the past and looking forward. For you and your loved ones to heal, you must find a way to function differently in the future. We help your loved ones learn the skills they need to protect themselves while improving their understanding of addiction as a disease.

Strengthened Communication

As the foundation of the relationship, communication is vital. For both you and your loved ones, many adjustments will improve your relationships. You and your loved ones can learn how to communicate how you feel and what is happening internally. This helps both parties heal and move forward with a more intimate knowledge of each other.

Improved communication helps you and your loved ones in and out of your direct relationship. In recovery, you will be returning to many social situations that will benefit from the practice you have put in through our family program. Practicing listening, articulating, and exploring different ways to communicate will help you at work and with other friendships in your life. Recovery will require you to make changes in many aspects of your life, including relationships. A family program, like the one at Enlightened Solutions, helps you learn how to communicate better as you move forward.

Healthy Boundaries for You and Your Loved Ones

Communication is also vital in the formation of new and healthier relationships with your loved ones. In many families in which a member has struggled with addiction, there is commonly a lack of boundaries. Healthy boundaries are integral to healthy relationships for you and your loved ones. Acknowledging and communicating these boundaries will help all parties care for their needs while maintaining a relationship.

Without experiencing addiction firsthand, it can be tough to understand. At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a family program that can be participated in remotely or in person. We believe in the power of family healing. In sharing your experience, your loved ones can start to understand you better. As they learn more about the process of addiction, the relationships will change. Healing as a family requires listening and sharing from all parties. As you hear about each others' experiences, you can work together to adjust how you function as a family unit. To learn more about our family program and how we can help you, call (833) 801-LIVE today to speak with a staff member. 

partial care program

For A Loved One With Addiction, Try Compassion

Addiction is a family disease, we often say in recovery. Though it is the addict who is directly suffering from the mental illness which gives them an impulsivity toward using drugs and alcohol, regardless of the negative consequences, many others suffer. Family members, friends, partners, loved ones, and co-workers all experience the residual effects of addiction. As a cohesive unit of people involved with an addict’s life, everyone has to find a means of coping. More often than not, they don’t. Everyone affected by addiction has to find a way to treat the addict under different circumstances: when they’re using, when they’re sober, and when they’re in withdrawal.

What most partners don’t realize is that there is one way to continue to regard an addicted loved one, regardless of which state they are in: with compassion. Compassion is often left as something to be adopted by nuns and monks or other spiritually focused people who have devoted their lives to giving. Compassion is in the title of self-help books, used by gurus, and is a buzzword in the new age spiritual progressive world. However, compassion isn’t a new invention meant to make people want to buy more yoga memberships and drink green smoothies. Compassion is an ancient interpersonal practice that has been healing hearts and performing real life miracles for centuries. Compassion is a natural human to human behavior that has been replaced by resentment, ego, pride, and most importantly, fear.

There is fear in trying to love someone who is suffering from addiction- fear that they will die, fear that they might get better, fear that someone will judge them and those who love them. It is easy to let a whole slew of external factors get in the way of what is a very critical internal process: love. Compassion is being able to recognize the love one has needed in their own moments of struggle and give that love to another as they struggle.

Though addiction may not be something one has personal experience with, suffering is. Feeling helpless, hopeless, and completely out of control is something everyone has experienced at least once in their lives. In that moment, there is a need for comfort, support, hope, and strength. Offering that compassion to a loved one struggling with addiction could mean the difference between life and death, ongoing using or recovery. In the end, there is nothing one can do to force a loved one with addiction to change. Inspiration works in mysterious ways, however, and one might always be the guiding light toward hope.


Enlightened Solutions provides supportive and transformational family therapy to clients and their loved ones during the treatment process. Gaining inspiration from the spiritual solution of the 12 steps, Enlightened Solutions combines proven treatment methods with holistic practices for healing to create a wholesome approach to recovery. For more information call 833-801-5483 today.

partial care program

Supporting A Loved One Who Has Experienced Sexual Assault

According to RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, an American is sexually assaulted every 109 seconds. Out of every 1,000 perpetrators, only 6 will end up in prison to pay for their crime.


Listen To Their Story

Our cultural environment tends to play the role of the non believer when it comes to listening to stories of sexual assault. We like to blame the victim for not doing enough to protect themselves or change the situation. Sexual assault is highly stigmatized in our society, leaving victims of sexual assault feeling a double dose of shame. One of the best things you can do if your loved one has experienced sexual assault is listen to them actively. Active listening means creating the space to totally hear what they have to say without interruption, question, or judgment. After they are done, thank them for sharing, and remind them you are hear to listen to them.


Learn More About Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is not just rape. Men and women are groped, mistreated, and physically/sexually abused each day. Around the country there are trainings on stopping sexual assault, caring for someone who has been sexually assaulted, and learning more about consent. Sexual assault can be traumatizing resulting in ongoing effects similar to those of PTSD which can include symptoms of depression and anxiety.


Encourage A Report

Millions of sexual assault survivors go without making an official report. Many feel a report only brings them more shame and judgment, that they are never taken seriously. A report should still be made, as well as a full physical inspection. Support them by telling them you’ll be by their side.


Understand Their Sensitivity

We live in a sex driven culture that often doesn’t consider the depth of its jokes. Understand that for years to come, your loved one might be sensitive to the hypersexuality around them. What might seem like a harmless joke may be a deeply disturbing trigger for them. Try to act respectful toward sex, sexuality, and topics of sexual violence.


Enlightened Solutions supports the treatment of substance use disorders which are co-occurring with mild or severe PTSD. Our facility is certified to treat dual diagnosis clients in order to meet all of their needs for recovery. Call us today to learn more about our programs, 833-801-5483.

How to Talk About A Loved One’s Addiction With Them

I’m a drug addict and I need help” is a shocking statement to hear from a loved one. We may have known for years that our loved one suffered from substance abuse and addiction. Finally hearing them admit that their lives have become completely unmanageable due to their powerlessness over drugs and alcohol is often a relief. For many families, however, the news comes as a total surprise. There is a sort of loss. How do we comprehend learning that someone we know and love, who we thought we knew so well, suffers from something fatal? Overtime we learn the details of the depths of their addiction. We find ourselves at a loss for words.

Addiction can render anyone speechless. Astonishing is the word for describing the lengths and addict or alcoholic will go to in order to ensure their next intoxication.  Bewildered and taken aback, we might struggle to find the right thing to say. We know that they need all of our love and support during such a challenging time as getting sober. What to say?

How to Talk About A Loved One’s Addiction With Them

First, it is important to understand that saying something is better than saying nothing. Coming from a place of fear in communication is always the wrong first step. Cutting off communication due to fear of saying the wrong thing is harmful. It prevents necessary human to human understanding, empathy, and compassion. Even if what you say is not the “right” thing, by vulnerably opening up out of your own discomfort, you immediately help the other person. That ease can begin with simply letting them know you don’t know what to say.

“There’s nothing I can say that will make recovery easier for you. I am not sure what to say about the information you’ve just given me. I am here to support you and I am proud you are making the decision to receive help.”

Make sure to keep your focus on the other person. Though the news is shocking to you, your loved one is the person fighting a potentially life-threatening disease. Take time to listen to what they have to tell you. If you are unclear what it is they need or want to get help, ask them to clarify. Rather than just asking, “what can I do to help?”, ask specifically what they need you to support them in. When they begin to talk, really listen. Put aside your own thoughts, feelings, judgments, opinions, and fears. Listen to what they have to tell you and they will likely give you all the additional information you need.

Recovery starts with You. Start your recovery with Us. Enlightened Solutions is waiting to answer your questions about your or your loved one’s decision to seek recovery from addiction. We offer spiritually and 12 step based treatment programs to men and women. For more information call 833-801-5483 today.