When we’re talking about living with addiction, the term applies to the addict but also to his or her family members. This disease doesn’t exist in a vacuum; it affects the entire family and how they relate to each other. It also brings with it the idea of waiting for the addict to hit “rock bottom” and being ready to get help before it will be effective. While this seems like a good idea in theory, it doesn’t always work out very well for real-life families.
Rock Bottom In Addiction
The basic idea of rock bottom is that the person who is living with drug addiction will continue down a slippery slope until he or she has nothing left. If enough time passes, he or she will end up unhealthy, friendless, broke, – and broken. At that point, he or she will be ready to accept treatment.
Helping vs. Enabling
What the idea of rock bottom doesn’t take into account is that family members don’t want to see their loved ones hurting. They want to help and think that by giving their addicted loved one shelter, clothing, food, money and understanding they are improving the situation.
Addiction is a disease, but it is different from anything else a family has every dealt with. It’s hard for family members to see that they can love someone to death by continuing to provide them with things that in any other circumstance would make sense. Families need to understand that a person living with alcohol or drug addiction will have few qualms about lying or stealing in order to make sure that they can continue to use. Feeding the addiction unfortunately and ultimately comes first.
When a family member does something for their addicted loved one that he or she could do on his or her own, that is enabling. The longer this goes on, the longer it will take for the addict to seek treatment.
Bring The Bottom Up
Rather than waiting it out for a loved one to reach rock bottom and decide that he or she is ready to get help, family members can take action and get their power back in this situation.
The way to do this is to “bring the bottom up” by holding an intervention and explaining to your loved one in a very calm and respectful manner that while you will no longer be enabling the addiction, but you are prepared to support your loved one if he or she will go for treatment.
Ideally, arrangements should be made with a qualified treatment center like Summit Behavioral Health in advance, so that the addict can start their recovery process immediately.
Summit Behavioral Health offers individualized addiction treatment programs to best treat your loved one. Call us today to learn more about our programs and how we can help you plan an intervention and “bring the bottom up” for your loved one.