Renaissance Recovery logo

By: Renaissance Recovery

Medically Reviewed by: Diana Vo, LMFT

Last Updated: 7/1/2021

a person exercising after getting substance abuse help

Authored By: Joe Gilmore

Table of Contents

Finding substance abuse help for yourself or your loved one can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, treatment centers out there like Renaissance Recovery’s Southern California recovery center can provide clients with evidence-based, effective drug and alcohol treatment at an affordable price. At our Orange County rehab, we work with numerous insurance organizations to ensure that anyone who needs help can get it.

If you or a loved one needs help, contact our team today to learn more about getting into treatment.

How to Help Someone with Substance Abuse

SAMHSA’s most recent National Survey on Drug Use and Health, NSDUH 2020, shows that 40 million people in the United States have substance use disorder. This is a huge increase in the numbers from NSDUH 2019, due to the effects of the pandemic, and also due to SAMHSA’s shift in methodology, using DSM-5 instead of the superseded DSM-4.

Whatever the reasons, the threat of addiction remains clear and present across the United States.

Fortunately, MAT (medication-assisted treatment) is becoming more readily available and this is a step in the right direction. Virtual therapy is also becoming more commonplace.

Before we look at how you can help yourself if you need addiction treatment, here are six simple ways to guide a loved one grappling with alcohol use disorder or substance use disorder.

1. Listen carefully and without judgment

2. Minimize friction

3. Urge them to join peer support groups

4. Remain reasonable

5. Make accommodating changes in your life

6. Be kind to yourself

1) Listen carefully and without judgment

It’s easy to fall into the trap of pleading and bargaining with your loved one to not use drugs or alcohol.

Instead, show kindness, support, and understanding. Refrain from being angry or judgmental. Now, we understand it can be difficult at times to keep your frustration under control. By remaining calm, at all costs, your loved one is far more likely to open up to you about what they’re feeling.

2) Minimize friction

Family dynamics and relationship issues can bring about conflict. This is only natural. It’s absolutely vital, though, that you learn to prevent conflict from escalating.

Whether your loved one is already in recovery or yet to engage with treatment, if you tend to have a turbulent relationship, seeking help from a licensed family counselor can help you to identify underlying problems and work constructively to come together as a family.

You can expect to:

  • Learn to communicate more effectively
  • Become more flexible and accommodating
  • Enjoy spending quality time together

Things will not be easy when you’re dealing with someone struggling to leave a drink or drugs behind. Just do what you can to minimize friction. You can’t be perfect but you can try your best.

3) Urge them to join peer support groups

While you might feel like you want to be the person your loved one turns to for help, sometimes the closest person is the least suitable to provide support.

If they’re struggling with alcohol use disorder, they would likely benefit from support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous. Research shows that peer support groups play a vital role in a successful recovery.

Your loved one will be able to talk candidly with others who are experiencing the same difficulties. AA members who are maintaining recovery can inspire and encourage those struggling to stay sober.

4) Remain reasonable

Supporting your loved one means you must keep your expectations realistic. It’s common for someone in recovery to relapse, often more than once, before they nail it for good and become sober over the long term.

Relapse might be a normal part of recovery. It’s still hard to accept when you’ve seen your loved one work so hard to detox and stay clean, though.

When you’re dealing with a loved one in recovery, prepare for relapse and remain level-headed if it happens. Encourage your friend or family member to quickly get back on track. View relapse for what it is: a definite possibility but by no means indicative of failure. Keep providing love and encouragement so they know support is there when they need it.

5) Make accommodating changes in your life

Perhaps you’re a social drinker yourself?

Maybe you’re currently taking prescription painkillers like opioids or benzos?

Remove any temptation from your loved one by getting rid of any alcohol or substances in the house.

Encourage your loved one to form new friendships with people who don’t drink or use drugs, especially in the early stages of recovery. If they attend AA or similar peer support groups, there will be plenty of opportunities for them to meet sober friends.

Aim to keep the environment around your loved one as free from stressors and temptations as possible.

6) Be kind to yourself

If you’re helping a loved one addicted to drink or drugs, it’s easy to get sucked into the situation, neglecting your own needs as you become consumed by the needs of your loved one.

Remember: you are not responsible for the addicted person. Your support does not mean you must sacrifice your life.

This is often the most painful aspect of supporting a loved one in recovery. If you find this happening to you, please remind yourself that you are powerless over someone’s addiction. Take the time to practice self-care, too. This can often have a miraculous knock-on effect on your loved one.

You should also consider that your loved one could be feeling guilty for the stress they have caused you. By choosing to live on your terms, you’ll release them from some of this pain. If someone feels good, they are less likely to turn to drugs or alcohol.

You could also think about seeking support from Al-Anon, an organization for the family and loved ones of alcoholics. This support group is completely anonymous and free. You’ll find a supportive and non-judgmental environment that could be just the crutch you need at a tough time.

How to Get Help for Substance Abuse

If you are one of the 40 million people in the US with substance use disorder, there has never been a better time to seek treatment.

One of the unintended benefits of the pandemic was the broadening of access to virtual treatment for substance abuse, removing barriers for those unable to attend a treatment center.

Before we outline how to engage with addiction treatment through various organizations that help with substance abuse, how about virtual rehab?

Online Substance Abuse Help

Virtual rehab allows you to engage with counseling and psychotherapy sessions remotely.

All you’ll need is access to an internet connection and a computer or smart device. You then attend virtual sessions using software like Zoom or Skype.

Whether you have mobility issues, transportation concerns, or you simply don’t have time to commit to face-to-face recovery, most decent treatment centers now offer the option of virtual therapy.

Organizations that Help with Substance Abuse

Many people in recovery find 12-step support groups beneficial. The most common of these are:

  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous
  • SMART Recovery

When it comes to addressing the root cause of the issue and also embracing sustained sobriety, most people find rehab beneficial.

While more severe addictions often require a spell in residential rehab, many mild and moderate addictions respond favorably to outpatient treatment.

If you don’t like the idea of heading to inpatient rehab, outpatient treatment is not only less restrictive and more affordable but it is also covered by most health insurance policies.

Through an evidence-based combination of MAT and psychotherapy, with holistic therapies offered alongside, you can build a firm foundation for ongoing sobriety.

Substance Abuse Help Near Me

Recovery from addiction is a protracted affair. It doesn’t happen overnight, and you should expect blips. Never lose hope, though. People successfully recover from substance use disorder every day, even those with serious addictions. Hope, love, and support can be a healing force, even when it might not feel like it. You may feel powerless over your loved one’s addiction, but you are not powerless over their road to recovery.

If it’s you struggling with substance abuse, take charge now and reach out to Renaissance at 866.330.9449

an image of beer being poured and someone asking "am i an alcoholic?"
Addiction and Recovery

Am I An Alcoholic?

If you find it hard to relax without a drink, or you find it increasingly difficult to enjoy yourself sober, perhaps you’ve asked yourself “Am

Read More »
a person exercising after getting substance abuse help
Addiction and Recovery

Substance Abuse Help

Finding substance abuse help for yourself or your loved one can be difficult if you don’t know exactly what you’re looking for. Luckily, treatment centers

Read More »
an image of people learning about mixing gabapentin and alcohol
Addiction and Recovery

Gabapentin and Alcohol

Gabapentin and alcohol do not mix well. A prescription medication most commonly used for the treatment and prevention of seizures under the branded name Neurontin.

Read More »

Share this article

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on email
an image of a client

Pat C

“I owe my life and my happiness to these people. October 8th, 2019 marked two years of sobriety for me, and prior to finding Renaissance I hadn’t had 24 hours sober in nearly 20 years.”

an image of a client

Paige R

“They truly cared for me and the other people that I served with! From this group, I have made 8 new brothers and friends for life! We have continued on, after the program, to take care of each other”

an image of a client

Courtney S

“Great staff who took the time to get to know me. They have a lot of experience in this field and have first hand experience with what I was going through. IOP is outstanding and really built up a ton of great relationships and found this program to be a ‘breath of fresh air’.”

Diana Vo, LMFT

Diana is an addiction expert and licensed marriage and family therapist who has been in the field of mental health for over 10 years.

Joseph Gilmore

Joseph Gilmore has been in the addiction industry for three years with experience working for facilities all across the country