10 Do's and Don't's
If Your Loved One is Addicted To An Unhealthy Behaviour
- Do become informed about addiction and recovery. Don't regard this as a family disgrace or write the person off as a "loser".
- Do acknowledge what is going on (e.g. the drinking, the gambling) and the consequences (e.g. missing family get-togethers). Don't nag, preach, lecture or scold, just acknowledge the facts.
- Do acknowledge your feelings ("I'm concerned about you", "I'm uncomfortable being with you when you're drinking"). Don't blame or use the "if you loved me" appeal.
- Do set limits (e.g. "I'll only talk with you when you're sober") and care for yourself (get on with your life). Don't make idle threats or attempt to control their addictive behaviours (drinking, drug use, gambling).
- Do allow your loved one to take responsibility for their addiction and its consequences.Don't try to protect them from drinking/using situations or "pick up the pieces" if they drink or use.
- Do get professional help for yourself (Alcohol & Drug Referral Service, Addictions Counsellors, Support Groups - AA, GA, OA, Al-Anon, etc.)
- Do encourage your loved one to get help with their problem.Don't drink, gamble or use with them and don't think that "willpower" is enough.
- Do be supportive of your loved ones' method of recovery.Don't put down A.A., counseling, etc. if it's helping them stay clean/sober. Don't expect to be the one they turn to for help.
- Do have realistic expectations. Recovery is an up and down process and doesn't happen overnight.
- Do offer love, support and understanding in your loved ones' recovery process. Don't be surprised if you have to make some changes as well!