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No one is prepared to have a family member abuse opioids in their home and may even think, “it can happen to everyone else, but not our family.” Once it happens, suddenly your family is facing a difficult, painful situation that seemingly has no end. But there is always a way out. Here is what you should be doing to help your loved one get through the withdrawal process.

Learn as much as possible
To beat opioid abuse, you need to learn everything there is to know about opioids – such as, what causes its abuse, how an abuser's brain changes, and the seemingly difficult path of treatment. Knowledge is crucial and the more you educate yourself on what to expect from a substance abuse disorder, the more understanding, compassion and patience you have for your family member.

Talk openly
Start the dialogue by emphasizing that you care about them and you want them to get through this tough time. Then provide specific examples of the behaviors you have observed and how they are hurting others. It’s important that you bring the subject to the person when they are not under the influence, otherwise, the person’s ability to reflect and remember your intervention will be at risk and their response may be overwhelmingly aggressive.

Listen from your heart
Conversations are a two-way street, so prioritize listening to your family member. If you gain their trust, hopefully, they will open up and begin to express their emotions and feelings which will make you understand them. Reframe from interruption or criticism because, no matter how kind you are, they will likely shut down and that may worsen the situation even more. Keep in mind that when your loved one feels that they are able to talk freely about how they are feeling that can help to soothe their anxiety and inner struggles that can possibly lead to relapse.

Help them realize that they need to seek professional help
The first step in overcoming abuse is for them to accept that they are an abuser. If the person is not yet aware that they have a problem, your help will be to objectively show them they have fallen into abuse. Show affection while helping them understand that their behavior has gotten out of hand and that they are not able to control themselves. Always remember this is their process. While you can suggest actions for them to take, the person should feel ownership of their actions and bear the responsibility of changing.

Remain present throughout recovery
Once your family member agrees to an abuse treatment program, go with them to appointments and participate as much as possible in their recovery. Show them that a successful recovery is extremely important to you because you love them and care about their wellbeing. Although your motivation for change may be greater than the abuser's motivation, this may change once they begin to see significant progress in their life and actions.

Battling substance abuse is not easy, but recovery is possible. If you know someone who is a substance abuser, reach out to the team of professionals at Memorial Healthcare System for a specific treatment plan that's right for them.

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