Where to begin... This is all new. This is scary. Where do I even start?

  1. Ask for help. If possible, seek a doctor or therapist to help guide you as you begin.
  1. Find two or three trusted friends or family members, and be open with them about your situation. Be brave enough to share your fears and feelings. Do not attempt to walk this path alone.
  1. Feel and walk through any and all emotions. You may feel shock, grief, and sadness when you discover your loved one has a problem with alcohol and/or drugs. This is to be expected, and part of the process. 
  1. Research healthy behaviors in dealing with this before taking actions with your loved one.
  1. Prioritize yourself first daily. This may be difficult. Make it a priority, and do not let your battery get depleted.
  1. Develop healthy boundaries to avoid codependency and enabling behaviors. These boundaries can be developed with your therapist, a doctor, or others who have been through it before. Sometimes these boundaries hurt and are uncomfortable, but they are necessary.
  1. Trust your gut and instinct when faced with a tough situation. Unfortunately, there is no roadmap.
  1. Understand the addict or alcoholic will more than likely not seek help until he or she decides, and/or has hit rock bottom. This can often be a tough first step for the addict, and it is out of your control. Remember this isn’t going to be your problem to fix or solve. Stay in your lane. It is up to your addict or alcoholic to seek help and find a solution.
  1. Refrain from blame. Coming at the addict or alcoholic in an accusatory way does not usually end in a positive solution.
  1. Start doing your research to understand his or her addiction, problem, or disease. It is up to you to educate yourself and understand the disease.
  1. Prepare yourself for lies, manipulation, gaslighting, and deflection. Be ready if, and when, the addict or alcoholic tries to make you feel like you are not seeing what you are seeing, or it is your fault or problem. This is not true.
  1. Let go of any shame, guilt, and fear as best you can. This may take time, and this requires a conscious effort.
  2. Brace yourself. This is a journey, not a destination.