Addiction in Crisis: How to Help a Homeless Family Member


shutterstock_214529275Addiction can cause problems in all aspects of the addict’s life—at work, school, home, and especially with family members. An addiction can drain addicts’ relatives of money, energy, and time. At some point, the addict could lose their home due to consequences of drug or alcohol abuse, and end up homeless. So how can you help your homeless, or potentially homeless family member without enabling their addiction further?


Twelve-step programs for loved ones are extremely helpful in these tough situations. They incorporate many tools to help guide the family member through the situation. Try some of the steps, which include the following:


Easy does it


Slow down, take a deep breath and think about situation. Don’t let emotions take over, because using anger and accusations will not solve any problems. Try not to allow obsession and worry to affect your actions.


Think about the situation


Panicking over the problem is easy to do, especially when the struggling addict is a child or close relative. Thinking of the worst things that could happen will only worsen the panic, and can often cause overreactions. Parents have the natural urge to protect their children from anything that could harm them—which is normal. Unfortunately, in these situations, the urge must be controlled. Let the situation calm itself before developing a plan.




The Serenity Prayer provides solace for those dealing with an addiction in one way or another. Think before acting, and use this prayer for help:


“God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity

the things that cannot be changed, Courage

to change the things which should be changed,

And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”


Just for today


Use the following mantras when facing a crisis with a family member:


  • “I will have a quiet half hour all by myself and relax.”
  • “I will have a program. I will save myself from two pests: hurry and indecision.”
  • “I will try to live through this day only, and not tackle all my problems at once. I can do something for twelve hours that would appall me if I felt that I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

Keep in mind, you are not alone if someone you love is suffering from an addiction. AA offers support for family members, and LEAD Recovery is available to help as well. Call today at 800-380-0012.