Helping a Loved One Get Sober

You may have a close friend or family member who is a drug addict or alcoholic. Loving an addict is difficult, it requires significant pain to watch them deteriorate to the point of not being recognizable. Either they’re already at that point, or you fear they will be. Regardless, there are several ways to help an addict get sober. None of the ways you will like, but as a recovery advocate I can tell you what I’ve seen work from my observations.

Loving an Addict – Where do you draw the line?

A lot of loved ones of addicts forget where the addict ends and they begin. They tend to have a strong need to help the addict to the point of neglecting themselves. Addiction is commonly noted as a family illness. What’s meant by this is that the addicts addiction doesn’t just affect them, it affects you as well. It’s easy to write off the pain we’re going through as insignificant relative to their pain. However, writing off your own recovery in the end hurts both you and the drug addict. Not only is it prolonging suffering, its cultivating resentments towards a person who’s not themselves as a result of that suffering. The drug addict is less likely to get sober and the relationship is more likely to end without reconciliation.

drug addict

How does focusing on my recovery help them?

No one has ever “helped” an addict get sober. A drug addict is just as powerless over their addiction as you are. The sooner you accept that there’s nothing you can do the sooner you’ll begin to heal. Once you begin to heal from focusing on your recovery the addict can be inspired to quit. They can see that you’re moving on in a positive direction and feel inclined to do so as well. You won’t be harboring resentments or enabling the addict, you’ll be living life to the fullest. As selfish as this may feel, you have to accept until you focus on yourself you aren’t at a capacity to inspire sobriety for any drug addict. You’ll never stop loving an addict, but by loving yourself you’re a walking demonstration of what they can have without drugs.


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  1. King Lewis XIV

    Trying to explain to your loved ones that there’s nothing they can do to “fix” you can be difficult. There are so many moving parts and complexities to each persons path to recovery that it makes it difficult for one to explain exactly what it is they need. Often times they don’t even know themselves. Thanks for this article, you’re doing great things.

  2. coin

    We have a 27 year old twin daughter, who is struggling with meth. She won’t admit it. But as time goes by she’s getting worse. We take care of her two children and had to tell their mother that she can no longer stay here until she cleans up her act. She causes problems and it’s no good for her children as well as the rest of the family here. We’ve been recently given a great gift from my mother-in-law that provides a tiny home for my daughter and her two children. Someone was saying that it is best not to enable her and provide that, but on the other hand, we are hoping it would give our daughter a little hope in life since she has nothing now. (She lives in her car and where ever else she can find)
    Does anyone have an opinion on what we should or could do that would help? Right now it seems hopeless since she has no drive to want to pull herself out of the pit she got herself in. Thanks for listening! This whole thing is very foreign and new to us!

    1. CG Kid Post author

      It’s very difficult to watch. There’s not much you can do other than be loving until she wants help. In the meantime I’d focus on your recovery from how her addiction has affected you. It’s super easy to forget we need to be of sound mind to be an asset for someone once they need help. Attending an Al-Anon meeting is a great idea.

  3. skysoldier81

    it’s just so hard to leave her when she’s as bad as she is. but I don’t think I’ll be able to control myself if I stay. it just feels like I’m gonna leave her to die from it.