How To Help Your Loved One in Recovery
Addiction doesn’t just affect the one struggling with drugs or alcohol but their loved ones too. So, when someone close to you agrees to go to treatment, you may feel a great sense of relief. You may also wonder what you can do to help them during recovery. Read more for tips on how to show support both during treatment and afterward, and what not to do.
5 Ways to Show Support for Someone in Recovery
It’s important to know there is a great deal of work ahead, not just for the person in recovery but for those who love and support them as well. Here are some ways you can help:
1. Attend meetings with your loved one. Therapy sessions, support groups, 12-Step meetings – all of these may be good places for you to be with your loved one if that person is comfortable with your attendance. Your presence can make your family member feel more at ease when attending new sessions and communicate without words that you are supportive of everything necessary to stabilize in recovery. If your family member does not want you in attendance at support groups or 12-Step meetings, respect that and give them their space.
2. Take care of yourself. You need to heal just as much as the person in your family who is overcoming addiction, and to do this, you can attend your own therapy sessions and 12-Step meetings. Al-Anon is for friends and families of people living with addiction, and it can provide you with a support network of other people who are facing similar struggles. You can share your experience, learn from other people, and spend time with people who understand what you are going through. In personal therapy, you have the opportunity to focus on your needs for a change.
3. Learn more about substance use disorder. Addiction is a disease. For a long time, many people thought that you could just make the choice to quit using drugs or alcohol. However, we now know that quitting is a difficult process that often requires some form of professional treatment, and a desire to get sober. Drugs and alcohol can rewire the brain and lead to dependency. That is why recovery is a lifelong journey. Your loved one might relapse several times before finding an effective treatment method that keeps them on track. So continue to be supportive of your loved one’s efforts.
4. Emphasize the positive. You have likely experienced a lot of pain, fear, sadness, and anger around your loved one’s addiction, but you can choose to work through those issues in therapy and spend the bulk of your time focusing on the good things that happen in your life. It can take time to let go of the understandable and huge emotional issues associated with your loved one’s addiction, but with practice, you can learn to live in the moment and practice mindfulness that allows you peace.
5. Give your loved one space to make choices independently. You cannot stay sober for your loved one, no matter how often you are present with that person. Your loved one needs to step out alone and figure out how to manage sobriety in a way that makes sense on a personal level.
5 Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make
Even loved ones with the best of intentions, who want nothing more than to see the person stop drinking and using drugs, can inadvertently make things more difficult. Here are some examples of what not to do:
1. Covering up for your loved one. It may feel as if you are helping when you call into work to cover for their absence or otherwise clean up after your loved one’s “messes,” but it does not help to create a buffer between that person and the consequences of choices related to drug and alcohol use.
2. Expecting a dramatic change. Treatment is an important first step to kickstart recovery, but remember it is a lifelong process and relapse is common. Prepare yourself for what to do if relapse does happen. It may be a good idea to minimize their access to household funds or anything that may trigger the urge to go drink or get high.
3. Exposing yourself or your family to violence. If your loved one is physically, sexually, emotionally, or verbally violent to you or anyone in your household, prioritize safety first, and make arrangements to protect yourself and your family.
4. Pushing your loved one to talk. Being in a close relationship with someone who is in recovery can be very challenging and it’s natural to want and hear everything about the treatment process. But it is important to wait until they are ready to share. Remind them that you are there to listen and provide support and they’re not alone.
5. Don’t stay if the situation is not working for you. If you are unhappy, or if you know that you and your loved one will not be able to maintain a close relationship in the coming years, you are not helping by staying involved. Yes, it will be difficult for your loved one to deal with a loss of connection with you if the two of you were once close, but if you feel sure that you will be unable to maintain the relationship, free both of you from expectation as gently as possible.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction and looking for rehab near Dallas, Greenhouse Treatment Center can help kickstart your recovery.