Staying by a loved one going through substance abuse takes a lot of strength. Their addiction is not your responsibility, but your love for them means you want to show your support. Whether it's a family member, friend, or partner, these are some ways you can help someone you love who's struggling with substance abuse.

Talk To Them

Discussing your loved one's substance abuse is a very important matter. However, you first need to make sure they're willing to speak and to listen about it. Their decision to make progress on themselves is a huge part of them moving forward in their life and they are much more likely to stick with it if they are choosing to do it for themselves and not others. Find a time when neither of you has any other obligations and can really talk things over. Don't expect to come to a resolution through one conversation. However, you should see each talk as a means of building further trust and support.

Let Them Speak

How you feel about your partner's substance abuse is important, but you shouldn't be centering the conversation around yourself. If you truly want to help them, you'll be giving them as much room to speak as possible. Do not equate what you're going through to what they're experiencing. When the time comes to speak about how this has been affecting you, do so in a respectful manner without lobbying unfair accusations at them. If they've caused you harm, don't let them try to make their addiction into some sort of excuse for their wrongdoings. Both parties need to be able to bring their perspectives to the table without feeling like they're being shut down or misrepresented.

Set Boundaries

Without boundaries, you may allow your loved one's substance abuse to start taking control of your life, even if you're not directly partaking. This could be a sign of being in a codependent relationship, where your efforts to help an addict is sidelined by your supporting their addiction, intentional or not. Make it clear what you're not willing to condone, including them continuing their addiction while living with you. Boundaries can change the dynamic of a relationship, making you feel like a guardian to someone who was once a partner. Don't put yourself in any position to become a martyr. If they cannot abide by reasonable requests to preserve their relationship as well as themselves, that is not your duty. Setting boundaries with a loved one dealing with substance abuse is a far kinder act than letting things slide.

Don't Demean Them

Your loved one's addiction shouldn't be used as anyone kind of leverage, especially not a way to prove moral inferiority on their part. You may need to reconcile your perspective about addiction if you're having automatically negative associations about someone with such issues. Substance abuse can affect anyone, and in many ways. The fact that you're dating someone with these problems doesn't mean you can just excuse any problematic ideas you might have. Show and tell them that you're willing to help without judgment. Undoing your thought patterns can be as important for helping your partner as them getting to the roots of their addiction is.

Find Them Professional Help

You shouldn't be expected to be the one person who is able to help your loved one beat their substance abuse. Not only is that a lot to take in, but you end up doing damage if you try to intervene without the proper training. You should still do your part to talk to your partner and encourage them to get the help they need. An inpatient or outpatient rehab treatment could definitely be in the cards. Many of these have dual-diagnosis treatment, which covers mental health as a contributing factor to addiction. You can also research things like neurofeedback treatment in Colorado Springs or your particular locale. Discuss with professionals treating your loved one about how you can show your support. Even after receiving treatment, someone struggling with substance abuse can still have a very long road to healing.

Your loved one's addiction may have many causes and many solutions. Don't put any more of a burden on you than you need to. Instead, take care of yourself while also showing your support. Your support can mean a lot in terms of helping them realize and choose a life without addiction.

Author's Bio: 

Katie earned a BA in English from WWU and loves to write. She also adores hiking in redwood forests and photography. She feels happiest around a campfire surrounded by friends and family.