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Guiding Loved Ones Through The Scary Road To Recovery.

June 9, 2017 by  
Filed under Health & Wellness, Weekly Columns

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(ThySistas.comWe all have our demons and we all need a little help with them. There are some people who struggle a lot more with their demons than we do. Mental health issues might make them feel like they’re someone they’re not. Addictions can be a constant pressure on them. It can be scary wanting to help someone who is struggling with demons that easily turn back on us and burn us as we try to help. But if we’re careful and mindful, we can be a tremendously positive presence in their life.

Get rid of judgment

Sometimes, the urge to blame is very powerful. Especially if someone is dealing with what might be considered the consequences of their actions, such as anger issues leading to confrontations or substance abuse leading to addiction. But though you might feel right and righteous, falling prey to the urge to condemn can hurt a lot more than it helps. If someone is in a position where they need your help, even asking for it, judgment should be amongst the strategies you choose to employ. It can only add to the stress and the harmful environment that furthers their problems. Yes, you might very well have your own anger, bitterness, and wounds. But you have to be able to process them to help your loved one.

Try to understand what they’re going through

One of the most helpful tactics in putting the urge to judge or condemn behind you is to learn a little more empathy. Empathy isn’t something you can just choose to switch on, however. You might not be able to walk a mile in their shoes, but you can get educated on what that might mean for them. You can try to understand what issues they face by educating yourself online or asking them straight-on and trying to hear their side of the story. What you absolutely shouldn’t do is rely on any of the assumptions or stigmas you’ve grown to understand about their condition over the years. Those are often ill-informed and silence the people who can actually speak from experience.

Know that you are not the fix

If someone asks you for help, it can be an oddly empowering experience. It can feel like you are the only person in the world that can help them. But that isn’t healthy for them because you’re most likely not a professional in dealing with their condition. It’s not healthy for you, either, because it creates a mental obligation to be the one who fixes them. When it comes to mental illness and addiction, you can’t fix the people you love. There are only steps that one takes to try and recover.

Be willing to look at yourself

Reading this, the chances are that you’re thinking about someone you are close to. Once you’ve got over the urge to blame them for what they might be going through, you have to think more broadly about the causes and environments that have led to this stage. This doesn’t mean pointing the finger anywhere else. Nor does it mean taking on the blame yourself. No-one needs a martyr. But it can be helpful to be mindful of behaviors of yours that might have exacerbated the situation. Have you created a stressful environment that might have played a factor in their problems so far? Even if you haven’t been outwardly conflicting, might you have served as an enabler in the past without knowing it? Acknowledge any role you might have played and try to quell those behaviors in future.


There is the chance that your loved one hasn’t come to terms with the problem you suspect they’re dealing with. You shouldn’t assume you know the whole story, but if you are worried, you should consider intervening. Interventions aren’t about cornering and confronting them. If you learn more about them, you find that they are more about showing your concern and how addictions or conditions affect not only the person you love but the people around them, too. In a lot of cases, the perspective can help those individuals realize the scope of an issue they’ve been ignoring. In other cases, it might be just the offer for help they’ve been too scared to ask for.

Help them navigate the help they need

As well as being too scared to ask you for help, there’s a good chance that they might be scared of the next step: seeking professional help. If someone is truly struggling with addiction or with chronic mental issues stress or anxiety, professional health can be the most helpful thing for them. But you can’t force them into it. Instead, you should do your research looking into the treatments on offer and show them what you find. Many people might need help initially taking that step. For instance, they may ask that you accompany them to the doctors or that you visit a rehab center with them. You can be a supportive presence giving them the strength to take the step into an entirely unknown world. A scary possibility for just about anyone.

Look after yourself

An intervention can be a helpful process not only because it shows your loved ones what impact their problems are having to others in their lives. It’s a good way of coming to terms with it yourself. You can never try and simply ignore the damage an addict does in your life, for instance. You have to acknowledge it so you can survive it as this page says. But you also have to be aware of the risk that your loved one can pose in your life. Sometimes, you have to be willing to walk away if you’re in true danger.

It can be scary, yes. It can be painful, too. Especially when you have to decide when to step away. There are no 100% fixes for anyone. But you can be a great help on the journey to recovery, you just have to make sure you’re looking after yourself as well as your loved one.

Staff Writer; Latasha Carter

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