How Compassion Can Help You Help an Addicted Loved One

If you have someone in your life with a substance misuse disorder, you may have heard that the best way to avoid codependency and enabling is to use a “tough-love” approach. However, various personality types respond in different ways, and no two people with addiction are the same. Perhaps in your case, compassion can play a more valuable role in helping persuade someone you care about to make a change.

Contrary to what you might believe, you are not helpless in the face of your loved one’s addiction, nor are you powerless to intercede unless your spouse, family member or friend specifically asks you to help. While you can’t change your loved one’s behavior, there are steps you can take that will benefit your relationship and improve their chances of making a full recovery. 

What Are the Benefits of a Compassionate Approach?

Far from enabling your loved one, a compassionate approach can make a significant difference in convincing someone you care about to get help for their addiction. If you still love a central figure in your life, there is always hope that you can guide them to seek change. We now understand the concept of “hitting rock bottom” is a dangerous myth. Instead, you can raise the bottom and help them see why accepting help would change their life.

No matter how deeply they may bury it, people in active addiction are often in a significant amount of anguish. By responding to their behavior with compassion, you can show them that you understand their suffering and that you want to be a catalyst for sparking their motivation to get healthy.

How to Be More Compassionate With Your Loved One

Practicing compassion means:

  • You genuinely see your loved one as a person with value and potential, and you want them to succeed in their goals.
  • You set aside time to ask them about what they have been going through, and genuinely listen to their responses without interruption or judgment.
  • You do not ignore, belittle or diminish your loved one’s pain, sadness or any other strong emotions they may be feeling. 
  • You provide the comfort that you will be there for them no matter what, and that your relationship with them is an important part of your life.

As you’re providing compassion to the person you care about, don’t neglect to keep up with your physical, mental and emotional needs as well. Loving someone with an addiction can be enormously stressful, so be sure to set aside time to prioritize your self-care

Is It Time for an Intervention?

In many cases, a professionally managed intervention can make a tremendous difference in helping families and friends persuade their loved ones find help for addiction before it destroys the things they hold dear. An intervention guided by professionals is a structured meeting in which close friends and family members can voice their concerns, explain how the addiction has affected them and convince their loved one to enter treatment. 

At Whitman Recovery Service, our addiction professionals have more than 30 years of combined experience, and have conducted successful interventions in all 50 U.S. states. Contact us today to inquire about an addiction intervention for someone close to you.