Addiction’s impacts are not just limited to the addict, but its repercussions are frequently even worse for the family and friends. Many loved ones are under the impression that after treatment, everything will improve rapidly. However, addiction recovery is a lifelong process for the addict and everyone else in their lives.
Life with a recovering addict
Addiction strains relationships, and those closest to the addict are hit the hardest. Addiction comes to dominate every aspect of the addict’s life, and eventually, every interaction is influenced by their addiction in some form. Loved ones often try to convince their beloved family member to get treatment, which becomes a ray of hope in times of darkness.
Addiction recovery marks the beginning of another journey that will last a lifetime, and hoping it to miraculously fix everything will set you up for extreme disappointment. Recovery causes significant changes in personality, behavior, and expectation and can lead to uncovering underlying issues that were blamed on the addiction.
Many families face the challenge of not knowing what to do once their loved one is on the recovery path. They want to support and help but don’t know how to. You can use many strategies to help your loved ones through addiction recovery and reduce the chances of relapse.
Educate yourself on addiction and recovery
Addiction is a very complex and complicated issue, and recovery is one of the toughest challenges in people’s lives. You can do your part by educating yourself on the different aspects of addiction and recovery, such as health issues, potential triggers, enablement, and the psychological changes caused by addiction. Family members and friends will find it easier to relate to the recovering addict and be better equipped to handle any obstacles.
Be prepared for extended problems
Addiction creates far-reaching and long-lasting problems for both the addicts and their families. Although sobriety can improve them, many will still persist while Addiction Recovery is going on. Financial concerns are most common, particularly as a recovering addict tries to rebuild his life and career and pay off debt that may be related to addiction. The most serious of long term effects are health problems and may be permanent. Relationship troubles can be the most tormenting and can take years to rebuild, and in many cases, that’s a lost cause.
Finally, relapse is always a lingering fear even after many years. Being prepared and understanding the possibilities of these problems will make it easier to deal with them and their aftershocks.
Help your loved one with treatment recommendations
An addiction recovery plan often includes a variety of different treatments that are tailored to each individual’s needs. It may include:
- Individual/group therapy
- Pharmacology treatment
- Case management
- Family therapy
- Vocational rehabilitation
A recovering addict will need support in keeping up with these treatments since it could be difficult for some people for various reasons:
- They may feel hopeless
- May have trouble remembering appointments
- May not trust the treatment plan
- May feel demoralized
- May deny any addiction problem still exists
Loved ones and friends can support a recovering addict by helping them follow through by:
- Remind them about taking medications along with how vital they are to the recovery process.
- Make sure appointments are kept.
- Listening to any concerns they may have about the treatment plan and address them.
- Work with a treatment team to keep ahead and informed at all times.
Any small amount of substance can trigger a relapse since addiction makes it impossible to control urges. Staying away from all such substances is the most practical choice during addiction recovery, and you can aid them by:
- Reinforce the belief that abstinence is the key to long-term recovery.
- Help them avoid exposure to places where such substances might exist.
- Participate in other activities to distract them from uncontrollable urges.
- Develop a social network of sober people who support abstinence.
Don’t stretch yourself too thin
During the growth of addiction, family members find themselves giving more and more, which isn’t fair. They take up the slack, emotionally, financially, and with all life responsibilities such as childcare and chores. This pattern continues to recover, especially when the recovering addict is trying to build a new, sober life. This can be quite draining, and loved ones often neglect themselves in the process, which is counterproductive. This creates resentment and negative energy, which the recovering addict picks up and is likely to relapse.
Create a supportive circle for yourself
It is impossible to help someone else unless you have the proper support for yourself. It is critical to find some support for yourself since the emotional toll of helping someone through addiction recovery is incomparable to anything else. Counseling, therapy, and yoga are good starts and very useful in taking the edge off. A dedicated support group of people who are going through similar situations will be the most helpful as no one would be able to relate better than them.
Recognize the signs of relapse
Relapse is a possibility is something that most recovering addicts may go through. They take things back to square one, which disrupts the lives of all those involved but knowing and recognizing the signs early on can avoid this situation if addressed timely. You can alleviate or minimize the chances of relapse by:
- Monitoring changes in behavior
- Developing a plan in advance
- Involve professionals at an earlier stage
Keep hope alive!
Positivity could be the underlying success of Addiction Recovery in which all loved ones can play an invaluable role. Change is possible but keeping hope alive is crucial for it to happen.
The best you can do during an addiction recovery of your loved one is to be there for them. Sometimes that’s all one can do. However, with the strategies mentioned above, there’s a lot more practical stuff that can be done to ensure recovery is successful. Stay positive and wait for the light at the end of the tunnel!