Dealing with an addict in your family

Sho, having someone in your family who is addicted can be hard. Whether it’s a brother, sister, parent, aunt, uncle or even a grandparent, it’s really difficult to watch someone you love suffering like that. The addiction could be to alcohol, drugs, or even a habit like gambling. Sometimes people use these things, but it becomes an addiction when they can’t do without it. This starts to hurt the people around them.

If there is an addict in your family, here are some things that are important to remember:

  • Abuse is never OK, even if the person is drunk or on drugs. If anyone in your family is being abused, they have a right to get help.
  • Let the person know you care about them, even if you are angry or hurt by them sometimes.
  • Set boundaries. This means letting them know what is OK with you and what isn’t.
  • Don’t try to fix them or make them better. You can support them, but ultimately it’s up to them to change things.
  • Offer them help if they are open to it. 

If the addict in your life would like help, you can get them to call the South African National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (SANCA) on 086 14 72622, or search for one of their branches here. Learn more about addiction by reading our article, The reality of addiction


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