An American Addiction Centers Resource

New to the Forums?Join or

How To Make A Difference In An Addicts Life?

Discussion in 'Helping an Addicted Loved One' started by Rainman, Jun 13, 2015.

  1. Rainman

    Rainman Community Champion

    “Love is the only thing that can touch our soul and change our heart.”
    Laila Akita

    Many people often wonder how they'll get their loved ones to change. Should they nag them all day long, every day until the addict decides to actually do something? Should they use love as a weapon? Threaten them that unless they change . . .

    While all that can help, the best way to make a difference in an addict's life is to love them. Be even kinder to them and when you offer advice they'll be more willing to listen. They'd do all they can not to hurt you. And that includes fighting their addiction.
  2. JessiFox

    JessiFox Active Contributor

    Interesting perspective, you see so many references to 'tough love' and what is essentially withholding love, punishing the person, etc. when in reality love on it's own and support is the way to go. Within reason of course.
  3. Tremmie

    Tremmie Community Champion

    I am so desperate I might actually try this approach, so far I have, but I have also nagged this man... It's so hard to stay patient and nice when you see them destroying themselves. It is so hard to be loving and kind when you start seeing they are getting sick thanks to their vice, but I will try. If only I could stop myself from asking him on a daily basis how many cigarettes he has smoked. To be honest am losing my hopes.
    S24 likes this.
  4. zaerine

    zaerine Community Champion

    So true that showing love and care would help a lot in making an addict realize that someone is still there wanting to see him a better person. Sincere concern could help a person change even it is easier said than done.
  5. trevermorgana

    trevermorgana Active Contributor

    I agree that love can make an addict realize a lot of things but then there are cases were the addiction is so severe they become blinded to it. They may recognize love but they are still hunting for that fix and it becomes a massive burden to any loved one who witnesses this on a daily basis. Which is why we resort to tough love, because it can be effective as much as it can be hurtful. Its about knowing when, where and why, but that is something that I can't answer for anyone. You just have to know when enough is enough.
    MrsJones likes this.
  6. Mama C

    Mama C Member

    Definitely unconditional love and patience with boundaries. It has been a long journey. It is hard as the bystander. I pray and remain hopeful as we approach nearly four years. The answer lies within each person...
  7. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    Unconditional love and kindness can work wonders. I know confrontation and anger don't work. That only breeds more anger; and then everyone just spins their wheels.

    There's a terrific book out there that I wish I had when my son was struggling with his addiction. It's called Beyond Addiction: How Science and Kindness Help People Change. It's a different approach to dealing with a loved one's addiction, based on using love and kindness to help motivate someone to change. So many of the concepts in the book make total sense. I highly recommend it.
    S24 and Mama C like this.
  8. Mama C

    Mama C Member

    Exactly! Better books out now. And one has to remember that all that talk/nag is pointed to a person you love that is not themselves at the moment. Kindness helps them to know you unconditionally love them enough to be patient enough to allow them to do something to find their way back. Not an easy journey. Extremely painful and a heartbreaking journey full of obstacles but definitely worth it. Possibly dips, bobs and weaves because of humanness. And because we are human...we should treat people that way.
    MrsJones and deanokat like this.
  9. Cheeky_Chick

    Cheeky_Chick Community Champion

    You can never "make" a person change, and that can be very difficult to accept when somebody that you love is struggling with their addiction. However you can provide them with support and love, which will give them the best possible chance. You should make sure that they are getting professional help for their addiction, and that you support them with it at home, and perhaps you will find that mixing the two together, you can help them to improve their life for good.
    deanokat likes this.
  10. deanokat

    deanokat Community Organizer Community Listener

    One thing that the Beyond Addiction book suggests that I find very helpful:

    Talk to your loved one about their addiction the same way you would talk to a person who wasn't that loved one. For example, if it's your boyfriend, talk to them like they're your co-worker. If it's your child, talk to them like they're your nephew. The basic concept is that we'd never get angry, yell, and say mean-spirited things when talking to that "other" person. So why do we sometimes do that with our loved one? I know I was guilty of horrible communication techniques early on in my son's addiction. And I found out that being "nasty" about his addiction just made things waaaaay worse.
    S24 likes this.
  11. 6up

    6up Community Champion

    We need to show addicts love and never discriminate against them. If they realise that you hate them, they will avoid your company, and if they know that you love them, they will be near you and take in whatever you are telling them. Ask them to accompany you to church if they can.
    deanokat likes this.
  12. Winterybella

    Winterybella Community Champion

    I know for sure that the nagging doesn't work. Neither does the "preaching" based on what I have seen. Love seems like a good approach but it's true that love takes several different forms. Love sometimes means stepping back and loving from a distance. Still I believe in the overall picture, love never fails.
  13. pbennette

    pbennette Member

    The fact of the matter people cannot be helped unless they are willing to help themselves. They have to be willing to change themselves inward as well as their external environment. This includes the people they socialize with. They have to change their thinking and habits if they want to move beyond the addiction lifestyle. Its important to remain supportive and helpful. However, its also important to set and communicate expectations. On the other hand, nagging only puts up walls and encourages avoidance, never dealing with the issues at hand. I also look at it from the vantage point that I could have been the one to end up with the addiction, so how would I want to be treated? An addict is still apart of society in spite of their addiction. We should strive to help others in spite of their shortcomings which we all have in one form or another. This is life. Its not a sprint, but a long race. And as such helping others to improve themselves should be forged by love and respect which is for most of us apart of human nature.
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2015
  14. L_B

    L_B Community Champion

    I love my partner unconditionally and there isn't anything I wouldn't do for him r to help him get his life back. He knows that I always have his back and I have gotten him out of some situations that I never would have had I not cared. He often tells me that he has never had anybody in his life before who loves him like I do. He also tells me sometimes that he doesn't understand how I could possibly love him after all he has put me through. He will say that it feel so good to love somebody and have them love you back. He has had a lot of not so good women in his past who have only fed into his addiction. Even in spite of all that though, when I do try to talk to him about his addiction he thinks of it as nagging. He doesn't want to hear it. He has to want to help himself before he is going to start making positive changes in his life. When and if he does, I will be there to cheer him on!
  15. light

    light Active Contributor

    Love is the most powerful force that exists and I agree with you that it can touch our soul and transform as into an amazing human being. But sometimes we build burdens around us and become blinded towards love, in this case love has difficulties to fight addiction. This way love must come from inside, an addict must love deeply and strongly himself more than the drug which is destroying him. It must be a decision and a light that comes inside of our soul and brakes all the burdens our mind has build around us. I don’t think that nagging really works.
  16. S24

    S24 Member

    I completely understand that love and support take the win, but how does one respond when they hear that the addict is with people who are toxic to his growth? Or when you hear the addict say that they were upset and angry, so they used?
    I feel that there is a fine line between enabling and loving. So i believe that setting boundaries can help both parties.
    For example, i have told my (now ex) boyfriend that i do not want to speak to him of he is with these toxic people (he agrees that they are bad for him). But i also tell him that i love him and will support him 100% when i see that changes are happening.
    Is this a correct approach?
  17. Whiskers

    Whiskers Active Contributor

    Most people are ready to work on any problem when they feel accepted. This is the same case with addicts as these are people who are no longer in control of their own lives. People often do not understand the struggle that goes on in one who is trying to quit the use of substance. It is easy to pile blame on them which only makes the person defensive. Accept there is a problem at hand and chart ways to deal with it.
  18. tatrod129

    tatrod129 Member

    I think I have tried absolutely everything there is to try. All it does is frustrate both of us and it causes so many fights. I've found that the only way to go is just to love, understand, and support. I took a lot of time to learn about his addiction (heroin) including what it felt like, withdrawal, and the urges that come with it all. He wants the help. He doesn't want this in his life anymore but it is so so hard. I will never be able to understand how hard it is for him. The hardest part of being an addict is that no one else can understand it unless they are one themselves. I no longer nag and scream and threaten because it does not get me anywhere. I have to be understanding. This is what has given me results.