The single biggest mistake families make in dealing with addiction
Not getting an education about addiction could be the single biggest mistake families make when dealing with an addicted family member. The family needs to learn how the addiction affects the mind/behavior by changing the brain releasing chemicals that associate the addictive substances with pleasure then creates cravings for the addictive substance. They need to learn that addiction is a disease, not a moral issue. Learn how the specific substance affects the body, the mind and the behavior. Learn the personalities, conduct patterns in the disease and dysfunctional behaviors in the addict. The right education will give the family the power to help the addict in a more efficient way and may be able to control a possible chaotic situation. They will understand that they are not capable of achieving sobriety for the addict, the addict needs to make the first step to change but an educated person may be able to help to create the right conditions for the addict to make the decision to change.
Without the right education, families tend to deny that this is a disease or tend to minimize it. Without education, families tend to enable the addict to continue with the disease which will be more damaging for the addict and the family. They may not know that having mixed feelings about quitting could be completely normal at first even if they completely know all the problems in their life that the addiction has caused. Without education, the family may fall into a feeling of hopelessness of ever achieving any solutions with the addict and finally, they might not know not to wait any longer and to look for help now.