When dealing with a loved one who is suffering from an addiction, it is very important you not blame yourself for their disease.
“Today Show” host Kathie Lee Gifford’s recent comment implying parents are to blame for their children’s addiction has some parents feeling guilty and insecure.
Whether it is celebrities or simply people you encounter in every day life, most friends and families of addicts will experience some sort of backlash from those who do not understand the true nature of addiction. Part of your job as your loved one’s support system is to learn how to deal with this negative attention.
Addiction is a Disease
Addiction is not something that is caused from bad parenting or any other type of personal issue. Instead, addiction is a disease that actually affects the victim’s brain, causing them to seek the use of substances, such as drugs or alcohol, in order to feel happiness.
Today, 30 million people within the United States are suffering from an addiction. These are people from different backgrounds who have lived different lives. Addiction is never anyone’s fault.
How You Can Help
The best way to help your loved one recover from their disease is to give them your unconditional love and support. Just like you need to know the addiction is not your fault, they also need to feel you don’t blame them for the situation.
Show your loved one you understand they are struggling with an actual disease and you are there for them. Addiction requires treatment, just like any other disease. Explain to your loved one that to recover from their illness, rehabilitation therapy is the best option. There is a fine line between unconditional love and support and co-dependency, and so it’s important that as your loved one is getting help, you seek help for yourself also.
Turning Negative into Positive
There will always be negative comments from people who do not understand addiction. They will judge family, friends and especially addicts. This is why you need to be strong for your loved one.
When you learn to cope with the negativity, you can help your loved one through it as well. Together, with your strength, love and support, you can overcome the negative together and work towards the positive — a lasting, lifelong recovery.