Addiction is a family disease. It affects each person within the family dynamic in a unique way. If your loved one is battling an addiction, you’ll want to do everything possible to help them succeed in recovering from this disease. While we may not intend to hinder our loved one’s recovery, without the proper knowledge, our willingness to help has the potential to do more harm than good, making it all the more important to be educated and poised to provide a positive influence.
While recovery is unique for each person, their family and friends often play an integral role in the process. One of the most helpful tools a person in recovery can possess is a strong, reliable support system. It’s normal for family members to grapple with their effects on a loved one’s healing, especially when their support doesn’t seem to be enough to keep them sober. The best thing you can do for your loved one in recovery is maintaining an attitude of positivity and encouragement without letting doubt or concern affect your relationship. Here are some powerful ways you can contribute to your loved one’s recovery:
- Educate Yourself on Addiction and Recovery
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of information available to you regarding addiction and recovery. It’s important to know which sources you can trust to provide you with essential information. Do your research carefully, and don’t hesitate to consult with subject matter experts or treatment professionals. The more useful information you can take in, the more you will understand what it’s like to be in your loved one’s shoes and empathize accordingly.
Gaining knowledge about addiction and the ways it can affect a person can help you understand what your loved one is going through. One particularly effective way to better understand addiction and recovery is to join family support groups or attend 12-Step programs, with or without your loved one. This can help you prepare for difficult moments like withdrawal, relapse, or the stressors that addiction may place on the relationship you share with your family member in recovery.
- Take the Journey With Them
If your loved one is battling with addiction and recovery, they are struggling. Nobody wants to make destructive decisions, and most are also dealing with an underlying condition, whether or not they know it. Now that they are pursuing sobriety, the internal turmoil they are experiencing can be entirely overwhelming. Try your best to provide them with a non-judgemental space where they feel accepted and loved.
Your loved one’s recovery can be an emotional rollercoaster. They are experiencing difficult emotions and thoughts they have buried under substance use. If your loved one is showing signs of discouragement or self-loathing, remind them of their worth. Tell them that you are there to listen and embrace them with unconditional love. When they despair over the prospect of having so much farther left to go, celebrate the fact that they’ve made it this far.
- Avoid Enabling and Codependent Behaviors
Family and close friends can have a hard time with this – not because you want to hinder progress, but because you want to help in every way possible. While an encouraging support system is vital to a healthy recovery, sometimes our help can prevent our loved ones from experiencing the full impact and consequences of their behaviors. Enabling is counterproductive to useful support, as it allows a person to avoid responsibility. Remember that your assistance should be temporary to allow your loved one to regain control and handle their responsibilities.
- Understand That Relapse is Sometimes a Part of Recovery
Recovery is a lifelong battle, and many people working through it either relapse or struggle with the prospect at some point. This doesn’t mean that they’ve failed or are too weak to change; it’s simply a symptom of their ailment. Never shame your loved one for experiencing cravings or relapse. It’s understandable for you to feel disappointed or frustrated with them. Just remember that they almost certainly feel worse than you do, and need your support. Avoid making negative stipulations, like threatening to revoke your relationship if they relapse. Instead, create a space where your loved ones feel comfortable coming to you when they are struggling, rather than fearing what your reaction will be or what consequences they’ll incur.
- Create a Sober and Healthy Environment
Although you aren’t expected to live a sober life to support your loved one, creating an environment that lacks temptation can help them continue to thrive during the recovery process. If your past habits included going to happy hour together, form a new routine that doesn’t include substances. Replace old activities with healthier choices that foster positive growth in your loved one. It may even have a positive influence on you!
Having a strong support system throughout recovery helps decrease a person’s chances of relapse. While it won’t always be easy to know the best way to be there for a loved one who’s working through addiction, your encouragement and solidarity are an invaluable part of their positive transformation. Learning about your loved one’s addiction from reliable sources can help you understand the journey that the two of you now share. If it all gets to be overwhelming, don’t think that you’re alone in this fight. Accessing useful resources can make a significant impact on you and your family. If you’re looking for powerful resources to guide you in helping your loved ones through recovery, reach out to professional help. Achieve Concierge provides individualized care at every level of the recovery process and can offer you a wealth of reliable and effective information and treatment for overcoming addiction and building a healthier life. Call Achieve Concierge at (619) 393-5871 to learn more.