My Loved one Needs Help

My Loved one Needs Help

Behavioral Health conditions affect families, not just individuals. Many people struggle with knowing what they can do to help a loved one, and where the line between helping and enabling falls. Sorting through feelings of fear, shame, and guilt can make the process even more difficult.

It’s important to know that behavioral health issues are diagnosable, treatable conditions. Much like any physical issue that you would seek the advice of a medical professional for; it is not a moral failing or a sign of character weakness in the affected individual. While many family members recognize this, it is important to apply that same knowledge to yourself. Having a loved one who is struggling with a behavioral health issue is not your fault, and is not a symptom of your own failure.

Enabling Behaviors

  • Ignore unacceptable behaviors, and/or simply excuse them as being caused by the drug
  • Take over someone else’s day to day responsibilities and financial obligations indefinitely while they are actively using.
  • Lie for a family member, make excuses, and generally hide the problem from others.
  • Make open-ended threats and ultimatums.
  • Make multiple appointments for evaluations and counseling services that are never kept.

Helpful Behaviors

  • Acknowledge the disorder causes out of character behavior, while also addressing it without shaming or judging.
  • Help with tasks within your reasonable scope while the individual is in treatment.
  • Speak up when talking with professionals and support systems who can help.
  • Set clear boundaries for your willingness to help and keep those boundaries.
  • Keep a short list of who to contact if/when the individual agrees to treatment. Find out who accepts walk-ins for evaluations.


Find links to the most typically requested services. For more information or further help, please contact us.

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  • “My son is now on suboxone and doing better. Seeing him go from heroin to suboxone is like seeing the dead come back to life.”

    Caller called back to give an update on how his son is doing now in recovery

  • “My husband tried to quit drinking on his own before, and the withdrawal was life-threatening. The resources provided to us, as well as the explanation of the process helped me feel better about getting him into inpatient treatment.”

    Wife calling on behalf of her husband who is struggling with substance use disorder

  • “I have been trying to find supportive resources all day, and the Washington Recovery Help Line has given me great information and resources for our friend.”

    Individual looking for resources for a 19 year old family friend