Addiction can sometimes seem like a pretty lonely road, especially when a person has actively tried to separate him or herself from friends, family, parents, or children who they think might get hurt if they get too close. However, in most even after someone pushes you away as a result of the addiction, you are waiting with open arms to bring them back in and help them stay sober. Here are four ways family and loved ones can play a role in the lifelong journey toward sobriety and happiness.
1: Provide Actual Support
Sometimes family members and friends get worried or frustrated with a loved one who is abusing drugs or alcohol, and might start to blame the person for being unwilling to change or get treatment. This type of resentment and shame can actually make addiction recovery more difficult because in addition to overcoming the reasons for drinking or doing drugs, now the person must also deal with these feelings of guilt, shame, and depression. When family members provide the right love and support without guilt or shame, a person is better able to find success in addiction recovery.
2: Understanding What Treatment Can Achieve
It can be tempting to want a cure-all that will bring back the person you love, free from the grip of addiction, but before you place all your hope in a treatment program, it’s important to recognize that these facilities are often just the first step in a lifetime journey toward sobriety. Expecting the person to emerge from rehab completely “cured” of their addiction is unrealistic, and is probably just setting you up for disappointment. A quality addiction treatment facility will help the person recognize the problem, understand things that might trigger drug or alcohol abuse in the future, and help the person learn coping strategies to get through life without drugs and alcohol.
3: Provide Help Beyond Addiction Recovery
Drug and alcohol abuse can wreak havoc on a person’s life, and often when a person gets out of addiction recovery treatment, they are still dealing with:
- Debt or financial difficulties
- Loss of employment
- Chronic health issues
- Loss of trust and damaged relationships
- Depression or anxiety
As a family member or friend of someone who is recovering from the grips of addiction, you may find that you have your own issues to deal with as well. Only when you can address all of these things holistically can you and the person you love who is overcoming addiction actually move in the right direction.
4: Take Care of Yourself
The stress of taking care of someone who is addicted to drugs or alcohol often takes a toll on the health of the people around the person who is addicted. During the addiction recovery treatment phase, and after the person returns home, make sure you take time to care for yourself. It’s ok to ask for help if you need it, or to seek out a support group of others who are helping care for someone who is overcoming addiction.
You want to be there for your family member or loved one who is trying to get over an addiction, so make sure you understand the addiction recovery process and you’re doing what is necessary to help them stay sober and you stay healthy.