Richa Madaan

Richa Madaan

Supporting Loved Ones: How to Help Someone Struggling with Substance Abuse

  Jan 17, 2024
Reviewed by Ayushi Jain

Supporting Loved Ones

There is nothing more significant than family and friends in one’s life. You have nothing if you don’t have people who love you and support you unconditionally throughout your life in every situation. 

You feel like the luckiest man alive when you can serve others unconditionally as they do to you. If any of your family members or friends are suffering from addiction or mental health problems due to substance abuse, you should stand by them. They need people around them to enable them to come out of the dark hole.

However, not everyone knows the correct method of support. You might end up doing more damage than helping a sick patient. They require proper medical care and treatment. Now that you are here reading, this piece proves that you want to assist them out and lead them on a path to recovery.


This above-mentioned graph shows the statistics of the number of addicts and consumers of illegal drugs worldwide from the year 1990 to the year 2021. In these statistics, you can observe that the numbers have always been on the increase (except for some events). 

The percentage of addicts is quite low compared to the total number of users, but it is still worth considering. The worst point is that despite the global recession and rising inflation after the pandemic, the sale of illegal drugs and substances has been recorded at an all-time high in the year 2021.

Co-dependency in Relationships:

When your loved one is struggling with a substance use disorder, it can significantly impact your relationship on emotional, physical, and financial levels. In such situations, you might unknowingly engage in a form of behavior known as co-dependency.

Ending Co-dependency:

Being in a relationship with someone struggling with addiction can lead to codependent behaviors like covering up for them, making excuses, and trying to control their use. Whereas these actions often stem from a place of love and a desire to protect your loved one, they can inadvertently reinforce their substance use.

How to Find Support for an Addict:

If you’re looking for assistance in dealing with a loved one who has an addiction, consider exploring substance abuse and mental health resources in Alabama. One-on-one cognitive-behavioral therapy or other therapeutic approaches help patients a lot in overcoming their abusive past.

How to Leave an Addict?

Leaving a loved one with a substance use disorder (SUD) is indeed a challenging and emotionally complex process. But at times, there are no other ways. 

Imagine you have a girlfriend or a wife who is addicted to drugs. You want to help them, but that’s just not working. It might negatively affect you and your kids if you stay with him.

  • If you decide to leave, create a safety plan to protect yourself and your children if applicable. It may include finding a safe place to stay, contacting legal authorities if necessary, and involving a trusted friend or family member.
  • You should prioritize self-care and emotional well-being. Have you ever stopped and thought of yourself? Do you even know what is next for you now that you are leaving the addict? You should engage in activities that bring you joy and relaxation. Be patient and continue to offer your support when maintaining your own boundaries.

However, there should always be a light of hope that your partner has recovered from the trap of substance abuse. But it does not mean that you have to waste your whole life chasing for that person to change their lifestyle. 

According to the data from American Addiction Centers, Alcohol, or drug use is involved in 40-60% of domestic abuse situations. Moreover, more than half of individuals who abuse their elder parents (age 60 or older) are dependent on alcohol or drugs.

You can give it a try or put your efforts into their betterment. But if you do not see any sign of improvement or self-awareness in their behavior, it’s time to let them go!

Have Realistic Expectations:

Just keep it real when dealing with an addict. Don’t go all preachy on them because, honestly, they’re not going to hear it most of the time. What you can do is set some reasonable expectations and gently nudge them towards the assistance they need. 

But don’t hold your breath for them to keep their promises. Addiction is a tough beast to battle, and promises often go out the window. And try not to get too caught up in the pity or anger game; it doesn’t really support you, and you’ll just get dragged into their world.

If you see no signs of improvement in your partner, you should make yourself emotionally ready to get detached from that person and give a fresh start to yourself. 

If you have kids by yourself, you should take responsibility too, as druggists cannot be good parents or caretakers. They will ruin the kid’s life too along with themselves. Therefore, be responsible and learn to move on if you feel the need.