You might be close to someone who suffers from a drug or alcohol addiction. Your relationship with that person may be critical to their getting the help they need. While you might know that these drugs won’t help solve their problems, they don’t.
Sometimes the right person can convince an addict to accept that getting help is the best course of action to take, but they need a subtle hand to do so. The following are some ways your relationship may be able to affect positive change in such a person.
When a person is addicted to alcohol or certain drugs, this profoundly stimulates the nucleus accumbens region of the pleasure and reward centers of the brain. In a similar manner, being close to specific individuals may also have a stimulating effect on this same region. This means that the right relationships may be able to affect this area of the brain much as a drug does. So if you can produce the pleasure and reward response in the mind of an addict, then you may have a particularly positive influence over the individual’s ability to recover from addiction due to this response mechanism within the brain.
In other words, the addict may derive pleasure from making you happy and be more open to seeking help if you suggest it. They may also start to desire to seek help because they recognize that this would make you happy, improve the relational bond, and give them a response in the pleasure and reward region of their brain.
With this particular influence on an addict, it is important to figure out how to encourage them to seek recovery without becoming an enabler of their addictive behaviors. This can sometimes be a fine line to walk, but it often can be done. You must remain attentive to how they are reacting to you and not become involved in the addict’s access to drugs or alcohol.
It is only natural for an addict to want to draw others in to be enablers, but you must be firm and not give into the addicts seeking to receive pleasure and reward from using drugs. Active family and significant others are encouraged to be involved in the recovery process, but this can be difficult if there is an enabling effect.
Also, keep in mind that addiction recovery programs are more accessible and personalized than ever before. While recovery may seem drastic and scary, you can find traditional and non-traditional treatment centers—you can even encourage your loved one to start with virtual rehab.
Sometimes the addicts own well being is not enough to push them to seek recovery. However, knowing that their not finding recovery is potentially harmful to others they love, such as children or a spouse, is a greater motivating factor in this area.
By pointing out how their not getting the help they need to recover is hurting such individuals, you will be opening the addict up to the need to contemplate which is more important: their addiction or the relationships they hold dear.
Your relationship with an addict can have a positive influence on their recovery. Even when they are fighting the process, there is always the hope that deep down the struggle to want to get the help they need is present within them.
Sometimes it just takes gentle persistence on the part of those who have a positive influence on their lives to help them gain real ground in this inner struggle and get the help they so desperately need.