How to Help a Recovering Addict: 3 Ways to Motivate a Change
Addiction is a very real problem that hurts many people. The addict, his or her family, and extended friends suffer along with the person struggling with the addiction. And, unfortunately, many of those loved ones feel an overwhelming sense of hopelessness?
Have you ever asked yourself, “What can I do to help?” Have you ever said that nothing you do works? If so, you may be struggling to figure out how to help a recovering addict to overcome the addiction that is hurting you and your family so deeply.
The truth is that you can help. The situation is not hopeless. And there are several things you can do to support the person battling an addiction and help him or her to overcome the struggle. Let’s look at 3 ways you can help.
1. Believe FOR the Person that Hope Is Possible
Just as you feel hopeless, so too does the person you love who is struggling with the addiction. (S)he feels as though it is impossible to overcome. And (s)he must believe that there is in fact hope. But before addicts can believe in themselves, they often need someone else to first believe FOR them. You have to believe beyond the facts. You need to call “those things which do not exist as though they did” (Romans 4:17 NKJV). Tell your son or your husband that you see a better him inside the man. Tell your daughter or your wife that you see a better her inside the woman. When the addict sees that you believe FOR him or her, the person will find the hope to believe that hope actually is possible.
2. Remind the Person about Their Purpose
One of the reasons the person you love finds it difficult to overcome their addiction is because (s)he feels there is no reason to live. Not necessarily (although sometimes this is the case) do we mean the person wants to commit suicide and no longer live literally. What we mean is that the person floats through life existing but not truly living. The addiction robs them of their purpose. The dreams, goals, and aspirations they had before the addiction are buried beneath the pain of the struggle. Notice we said “buried” not “dead.” The dreams are still there. But the addict needs someone to bring them to the surface again. Remind them of their dreams. Remind them of their goals. Help the person to see that his or her life still has meaning, and the addict will strive to see that meaning fulfilled in his or her life.
3. Help the Person to Forgive Himself
One of the biggest obstacles to overcoming an addiction is the person feeling like he or she messed everything up. Health has deteriorated, family relations are strained or even severed, finances have crashed. The addict then looks at the mess created and decides the only way to numb the pain of all the loses is to use or drink again. Guilt sets in and breaking free from this cycle proves to be a very difficult task. Helping the person to forgive the mess (s)he created will break the guilt. And when grace replaces guilt, hope appears in sight. Help the person to release the past through the power of forgiveness, and you will see change occur.
Coping with an addiction is not easy. And addicts having to cope with it alone have an even smaller chance of recovery than those who have someone help and motivate them towards change. You may feel like there is nothing you can do, but by believing FOR the person, reminding him or her about their purpose, and helping him or her to forgive the past, you will motivate the person to take the steps (s)he needs to take towards recovery.