Addiction affects 10% of all Americans, which is a truly shocking fact. Out of the 10% who are addicts, only 11% receive treatment. Whether you’re aware of it or not, addiction seriously affects people’s lives that you hold close to your heart. I’d like to share some of my story about how to support a loved one struggling with addiction, and to let you know that if you are enduring something similar, you’re not alone.
When I first met my loved one, it was towards the end of his addiction, however I was not aware. About a month or two after we met, he left to get treatment for his addiction. Since I was barely aware he had an addiction, I was completely taken aback when the recovery process became a part of my every day vernacular.
When my loved one went away to treatment for ninety days, I didn’t even understand half of it. I wasn’t getting educated like I needed to, and my mind was running wild wondering how and what he was doing. My first bit of advice would be get educated. Learning is always a wonderful thing to do when experiencing something new; the more you know, right? So as early as you possibly could, I would recommend getting educated, so you can be best prepared for what is to come.
Communication is key, when experiencing a trauma such as this. It is important to be extremely honest, even if it might be hard. You need to be prepared for some of the heartbreak that could happen along the way. The long road ahead probably won’t be perfect, but it will be incredibly rewarding to see your loved one grow, and become the great person they were meant to be.
If you are in a similar situation with a parent, a sibling, a significant other, or anyone you hold dear to your heart, just know that you are not alone. This situation is more common than you think, and they have felt scared, guilty, and heartbroken as well. Look up an al-anon meeting in your area and attend one. The people who are apart of al-anon are insanely welcoming and will talk to you about anything. They have been in your situation, or one very similar, or maybe are enduring the same thing as you at the same time. You will find people who you can lean on.
Addiction is a disease. But there is a cure, and it is treatment. It will be challenging, but so worth it. You’re not alone, and you’re going to get through this.
If you, your friend, or a loved one is experiencing addiction, the Crisis Center in Birmingham is confidential and has counselors on duty to help direct you to local resources and just to talk. CrisisLine: 205.323.7777; Teen Link: 205.328.5465 (specifically for teens)www.crisiscenterbham.com