Five Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Tips for Families

Friday, May 10th, 2013

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention can start with the family, but is often the responsibility of a community as a whole.  Preventing substance abuse does not just mean educating teens and young adults, it means educating the entire family to help identify the risks and family members who may be at risk.

Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention Tips

Have Those Difficult Talks
Prevention can mean having difficult conversations with family members, but that doesn’t mean it those conversations aren’t necessary. Ask family members about their drug and alcohol use, the habits of their friends or monitor their use at home. If you think someone may be at risk for developing a problem or an addiction, have a conversation with them and express your concerns. The love of a family member and the support of loved ones may be all a person needs to recognize their behavior and seek help.

Be Open About Family History
Don’t brush family history under the carpet. Drug and alcohol abuse prevention is based in communication. Be open with loved ones about your past experience with drug or alcohol abuse or the experiences of other family members. Don’t simply relay your use, instead discuss how the substance abuse impacted the family, your feelings about the substance abuse and how you or someone else handled the addiction. Being open about a family history may also set others on alert that they themselves may be high risk.

Work On Your Relationships
It may sound silly, but a house full of angry people or people who do not get along can lead to an increased risk for drug and alcohol abuse. Work on maintaining healthy relationships with your family – even with extended family members. Address underlying issues and problems head on instead of letting them fester. Create an environment that is supportive and encouraging. This can be very difficult, especially if you have negative family members, but family counseling techniques may help.

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention is rooted in forgiveness. Why? Because as humans we turn to crutches when something is wrong. These crutches can easily be drugs or alcohol. We may have wronged someone else or may simply feel guilty about wronging ourselves, but those feelings can eat us up emotionally and put us at risk for substance abuse. Forgiving yourself and offering forgiveness to others can be the weight you need lifted off your shoulders. Remember, we all make mistakes, it is what we do after we recognize those mistakes that defines who we are.

Seek Help
Part of preventing a loved one from suffering from an addiction is knowing when to seek help. Don’t wait for someone’s habit to become a major issue before seeking help. Offer support and professional help immediately before your loved one hits bottom. If you are uncomfortable doing so, ask a trusted friend or even a professional counselor to approach your loved one. Interventions can work, but they are most successful when they come from love and support rather than a place of judgement.

Drug and alcohol abuse prevention starts at home. Whether your family members are 15 or 95, it is never too late to understand the signs and symptoms of substance abuse and help someone you love.