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Family Members – Get Help For Yourself First

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Updated January 23, 2009

Family members of people with addictions are often so concerned about their addicted loved one that they neglect their own support needs. But getting support for yourself can actually aid the process of helping your loved one. Here are some starting points for helping yourself.

1. Let off steam

Find non-addictive ways to let off steam, such as exercise, hobbies, and other friendships.

2. Learn to relax

Learn relaxation exercises and practice them regularly (especially when things get difficult).

3. Get therapy for yourself

Seek counseling for yourself in order to help you manage the stress of your relationship with the addicted person and to prepare you for helping them change.

4. Get assertive

Learn effective communication skills, such as assertiveness.

5. Build a support network

Speak to supportive people in your community about ways to get help (your family doctor is a good place to start and what you tell them will stay confidential).

6. Protect yourself and others

People with addictions are often gentle, but alcohol and drugs can increase the likelihood of aggression. If you or anyone you know is experiencing abuse, you should take action as soon as possible to protect yourself and others. Your local police will be able to tell you what to do.
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