Dealing with a Family Member Who is an Addict

I have become a huge fan of the Dave Ramsey show over the past few years. On my way to the office this morning the podcast from yesterday especially peaked my interest. I would encourage you to take a few minutes and listen to the first 10 minutes of this podcast as you have time today. Dealing With a Family Member Who is An Addict Dave Ramsey is well-known for his solid financial advice and that same wisdom carried over today into this advice he gives on his show to a mother that is dealing with an addicted son-in-law.

Dave gives a few clear pieces of advice here that apply well to anyone that is struggling with a family member.

So often in a family's attempts to help there is so much desperation to see change that the family will allow the addict to set the terms of their support.

This is often evident with statements like "If you loved me you would...." The addict will attempt to guilt the family member into believing that they are loving them by supporting their habit. Enabling an addict to continue is not love. If you find yourself making excuses for them then there is a good chance that you are enabling.

It's our job as friends and family to support. We must set the terms for the support, not the addict. They are living in the middle of addiction and they are not thinking rationally or reasonably. We must think rationally for them.

At the end of Dave's conversation he makes a statement that is extremely similar to the Family Resolution we give to the families of students at Teen Challenge.

Dave challenges the caller with the same advice; to communicate with her daughter that she is no longer going to pay the bills while the son-in-law just continues to use drugs and the enabling must stop.

Here is the resolution we give out at Teen Challenge:

"Teen Challenge is our plan for Life change. There will be no plan B or C. As your family member, I offer my support, emotional energy, and resources for your recovery at Teen Challenge. If you choose to leave prematurely I will love you, but I will not support you. When you decide you want to, I'll support your return and successful completion of Teen Challenge."

This advice transcends any particular recovery program. The overriding principle here is that it is up to the families to come up with a plan and be firm in following through with the plan. It is up to you to have the absolute resolve to set your plan and follow through with it when it comes to helping your loved one. Get some support in your corner!  So often our emotions cloud us and keep us from making good decisions and we need a straight talking person like Dave to tell us the truth.

This battle isn't going to be easy and you will at times feel like you are failing your loved one. Be encouraged that you are not failing them. When they decide it is time to get help you will already have a plan set up to support their journey to recovery. This type of firmness is the best type of support you can offer.

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