Tough Love vs. Indifference: How to Maintain Balance when Your Loved One is Addicted
If a loved one is experiencing the struggles of addiction, it can be challenging to walk the line between being supportive and enabling their addiction. How can you maintain balance by showing tough love and support without coming across as indifferent to their struggles?
Encourage Them to Seek Recovery
An indifferent individual might not care whether or not the addict ever recovered, but a loving family member or friend would want the addict to seek help and recovery as soon as possible. While you can’t force them to take that step, you can consistently remind the individual of the benefits that recovery would bring, and the healing it would provide in multiple aspects of their life.
NIDA suggests that you should emphasize to your loved one the courage it takes to take the steps towards recovery, as it is a long and difficult road, but that it is so worth it in the end.
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Don’t Cater to The Addiction
Enabling and codependency could both be considered indifference, as an enabler is not helping the addict but instead hindering their recovery, and a codependent is not encouraging recovery. Tough love may often mean going against what the addict wants in order to do what’s best for their health and well-being.
A codependent allows the addiction to control their life as well as the addict’s life, and this creates a dangerous scenario where both individuals suffer and don’t seek help. In order to properly care and love for the addict, this may mean stepping back and showing them how their addiction is damaging their life, rather than taking care of all the issues so that they don’t see how much the addiction is costing everyone emotionally, mentally, and financially.
Encourage Them to Find Others who Understand
Part of being supportive to a loved one with addiction is encouraging them to seek others who know what they are experiencing. If you have never personally gone through what they are struggling with, it may be difficult for you to relate in all areas or offer advice.
According to NCBI, group therapy and support groups are powerful tools that can help recovery tremendously. While the addict may be indifferent to the idea, you do not have to share the same mindset, but can instead lovingly encourage them to join a support group.
Depending on the individual’s initial willingness, it may take some time and effort to persuade them that this is the best step for them, but in the end it will benefit them more than they know.
If you or a loved one are struggling with addiction, call 800-996-6135(Who Answers?) to speak with a caring specialist who can answer all of your questions and concerns. You shouldn’t have to walk through this journey alone, so it is important to seek support and professional advice so that you can find a healthy, happy lifestyle in recovery.