Brother holding sister's hand while he figures out how to help an addict.For many families, drug addiction is the elephant in the room. Everyone tries hard to ignore it, including those struggling with the substance abuse problem. When you’re ready to stop playing pretend and learn how to help an addict instead, there is help. If you and your sister suffer from this so-called family disease, now is the time to act.

Practice an Approach Before Talking to Your Sister

There’s a good chance that your family is already engaging in a negative dynamic. You, or other members, may have tried to discuss the subject in the past. There may have been shouting matches and slamming doors. This interaction is not how to help an addict.

Instead, approach your sister in private. Do so with the understanding that addiction is a disease that causes the sufferer to lie, cheat, manipulate, and withdraw. Communicate love and affection for your sister while you explain the ways her drug use affects you. Next, define a set of healthy boundaries that prevent your enabling of her addiction.

Resist the Temptation to Facilitate Her Drug Use

Because you practiced your approach, the conversation about boundaries should be clear and concise. Explain that you look forward to her visits as long as she’s sober when arriving. Cut off financial assistance. Most importantly, enforce the boundaries you set with her.

How to Help an Addict without Enabling

You cannot make your sister stop using and enter addiction treatment any more than you can make any person do anything. What you can do, however, includes the presentation of possible solutions. By becoming a resource and support network point person, she’ll know to seek you out when she’s ready to change.

  • Educate yourself on drug rehab. Rehab facilities understand that addiction is a family disease. Therapists welcome inquiries of family members on behalf of their loved ones. These experts gladly help you understand the addiction, the treatment options, and the enrollment process. There’s never any pressure to bring your sister in or talk her into entering rehab.
  • Participate in family therapy. When your sister does enter rehab, you’ll learn how to help an addict who’s working on her sobriety. Family therapy is an important aspect of getting well. Make yourself available to participate when the therapist invites you to come in. Encourage other family members to do the same.
  • Evaluate your family dynamics. Your sister’s addiction is not your fault. But you can play a role in her recovery. Be willing to examine the way your family interacts with one another, and recognize toxic behaviors. Make the changes that you see are necessary to enhance relationships with your sister.
  • Keep lines of communication open after rehab. Once your sister finishes her rehab stay, she’s in active recovery. Her focus will be on relapse prevention and trigger recognition. She may live in a sober living facility or still undergo outpatient rehab while living at home. Now, your addiction help calls for an emphasis on open but nonjudgmental communication.

Learn How to Help an Addict Today

Although you can’t make your sister go to rehab, you can find out how to be a catalyst for change today. Become the family member who not only mentions her addiction but also offers solutions in the form of information. The Steps to Recovery therapists routinely work with family members who want to learn how to become supportive of sober living without enabling. Call 866-488.8684 to find out what it takes.