Practicing Self Care While Dealing With a Loved One Who Refuses Treatment

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Practicing Self Care While Dealing With a Loved One Who Refuses Treatment

Having a family member or close friend that is actively struggling with substance use and unwilling to get treatment can be incredibly stressful and draining. It can take a major toll on your mental health and can even lead to problems like depression and anxiety. If this is your current situation, one of the most important things you have to realize and accept is that you cannot take care of anyone else in your family before you take care of your own physical and mental health first. 

It is also important to remember that once you have done everything that you can for your loved one that is struggling, it will reach a point where you will need to let them figure out their situation. In the meantime, ensure you are taking proper care of your mental and physical well-being. 

The Weight of Addiction on Family Members 

When someone struggles with addiction, it affects not only themselves but everyone around them. As a family member, you will experience an emotional toll and may feel misdirected emotions like guilt, anger, or shame about your loved one’s addiction. You may also find yourself making up excuses for the individual, covering up for them, or essentially mistakingly enabling them out of love and concern. Some examples of this behavior include: 

  • Helping the individual out financially 
  • Assisting them with legal battles 
  • Taking care of any personal or professional responsibilities they failed to accomplish 

While you may have entirely good intentions when doing these things, it ultimately negatively impacts the person struggling with addiction because it allows them to carry on with their destructive behavior without facing any consequences or having to take any responsibility. 

Learning to Let Go of Guilt or Responsibility 

At the end of the day, the only person who can decide to seek treatment is the individual who is struggling. There is nothing that you can do to force them to make any decisions. You are also not responsible for their addiction and should not feel guilty for what they are going through. Being able to come to this realization can be a huge relief and take a significant weight off of your shoulders. 

One of the best ways to retrain your brain in regards to your loved one’s addiction is therapy. By working one-on-one with a therapist, you can learn to work through your emotions, better understand how you are feeling, and develop healthier coping mechanisms for stress. In addition to one-on-one therapy, there are also in-person support groups available and virtual meetings for the family members and friends of those struggling with substance use disorders. 

Surrounding yourself with people who know first-hand what you are going through can be beneficial to your healing process because they have gone through it themselves. This is also an environment where you can feel comfortable sharing because you know you will be met with compassion rather than judgment. 

Both Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) offer family support groups. Some important things to note are that these meetings are confidential and that everyone involved has been impacted in some way by another person’s substance use. At these meetings, you will be able to share as much as you are comfortable with, or you can just listen if you would prefer. You will also get to learn about the Twelve Steps and how they can help someone struggling with substance use. 

Self-Care Ideas 

If you are not familiar with the concept of self-care, it is essentially doing anything necessary to take care of your mental, physical and emotional well-being. What works for one person might not be the best fit for you, and it may take time to figure out what is the most effective. Some common self-care ideas and practices include: 

  • Taking a break from social media 
  • Getting out and being amongst nature 
  • Opening up to a trusted family member or friend about what you are going through 
  • Taking the time to prepare and eat healthy, nutritious meals 
  • Considering practicing yoga or some other form of meditation and breathing exercises
  • Taking a walk 
  • Listening to some calming music 
  • Taking a relaxing bath 
  • Spending some quality time journaling to work through your emotions
  • Reading a chapter of an uplifting book 
  • Watching an episode of one of your favorite television shows
  • Making sure that you are getting plenty of exercise on a regular basis 

You also should not be afraid to put distance between yourself and the person struggling with addiction in order to work on and maintain your own mental health. It is not selfish to put your own needs and well-being first. 

It can be very stressful and emotionally draining to have a loved one that struggles with addiction, especially if they are unwilling to get professional help. This can even lead to mental health problems like anxiety and depression, which is why it is so essential for family members of the individual struggling to remember to put their own needs first. They can not properly help or support their family member if they are not taking care of themselves. This includes learning to let go of unnecessary guilt or responsibility. It may also mean working with a therapist or joining a support group that can help work through unhealthy or painful emotions throughout the process. If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, our team at The Kimberly Center can help. Call us at (855) 452-3683 today to learn more about the different types of services we provide. 

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