Can An Addict Change? How To Help Someone You Love with Addiction

This is a tough and often painful question the loved ones of addicts find themselves asking.

First, it’s key to understand that addiction is such a far-reaching disease. It leaves no area of an addict’s life untouched, and unfortunately, this includes their loved ones. Whether you’re in a romantic relationship with an addict, or you’re the family member or friend of someone struggling with an addiction, you are likely part of an emotional roller coaster.

Addicts are master manipulators, and they’re deceptive because this is how they can continue fueling their addiction. They manipulate the people who love them the most and put them through difficult situations day after day. Even after promising they will make a change, most addicts continue their addictive behaviors.

It’s easy to start to feel helpless or hopeless as you wonder can an addict change?

Once you’ve heard the same things over and over from this person, you may start to feel like that it’s impossible for them to actually change, no matter what you do.

Part of this feeling is true. There’s very little you can do to help an addict make a change. The best you can do is confront them about their addiction, and show them how it’s affecting you. You can also organize a formal intervention where you and other loved ones gather to ask them to go to treatment. If the person refuses treatment, everyone in the intervention outlines specific consequences they will enact as a result.

However, whether or not the addict actually seeks help is ultimately only up to you.

With that being said, can an addict change?

Yes, they can, with treatment and dedication to recovery. Treatment helps an addict change their behaviors and understand their addiction and its effects.

If you love someone who is an addict, it’s important to understand that they aren’t behaving in a certain way because that’s inherently who they are. They’re behaving in the ways they are because of the power of their addiction, and the effects it has on their brain.

Even after someone completes a treatment program, they will need a supportive environment, and they will need to work on their recovery every day.

An addict can change, but it can be a long and difficult road.

Can An Addict Change? How To Help Someone You Love with Addiction
There are certain things you can do to help someone you love with an addiction, and others that aren’t within your power.

First, what you can’t do to help an addict is force them to quit using, or do the work for them. You can have an intervention to motivate them to receive help, but you can’t actually force them into treatment. You also can’t put the hard work into the recovery process for them. They will have to work at it and work hard.

It’s important if you love an addict that you also realize that it’s not helpful or productive to continue accepting certain behaviors. It’s essential that you learn not to enable the addict, and part of doing that is creating boundaries for yourself, and sticking to them no matter how hard that might be. If you set boundaries and then don’t follow through, the addict will learn that they can continue their behavior with no consequences from you.

You may find that in order to adhere to your boundaries you have to disengage from the addict, and you can be firm when telling them that you love them, but you won’t continue supporting them while they’re using.

Sometimes one of the best things you can do for an addict is let them realize the full weight of the consequences of their actions. If you strive to eliminate the consequences or mitigate them, it may be harder for them to find the motivation to receive treatment.

Also when you’re trying to help an addict, you can learn as much as you can about the disease of addiction. Being educated is important, as is taking care of yourself and making sure that you can accept the reality of the situation and also talk openly about it.

So, can an addict change? Yes, but not without a lot of hard work and a desire to change.

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