Here are 5 ways family members can support their loved one in drug or alcohol recovery. They include common problems family members encounter while living with a recovering addict and what actions you can take to address them.
Even though your family member may have successfully completed treatment, the consequences of addiction could continue to affect the rest of the family for a long time.
As a result of the addiction , you may face ongoing hardships, such as:
You can take some steps to help alleviate some of the stress of different hardships.
In most cases, drug use significantly changes the lives of all those close to the addict – none more so than the immediately family. For this reason, the family often needs help, too.
Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities provide education for family members on topics such as how addiction works and how to handle stress. These programs are key to restoring the health of the family unit after addiction.
The entire family needs to be involved in the treatment as well as the recovery process . To do this, the family will need to learn the best ways to support the recovering addict. Agreeing to participate in family education is a great way to support the addict’s recovery.
Many outpatient family therapy programs are available for you and your loved ones. You meet with a certified therapist who teaches you intervention skills you can use at home during stressful and trigger situations. You learn healthy communication skills and ways to express feelings and needs without projecting blame.
One of the most important things that a family needs to be aware of when living with a recovering alcoholic or drug addict is the importance of family members maintaining an alcohol- or drug-free and sober lifestyle.
Keeping someone in recovery away from the temptation of using is essential, especially in the first year of recovery. This is why many people prefer inpatient rehab programs ; they get the addict away from the environment in which they were using.
Ideally, a home should be completely emptied of any substances that could be intoxicating. If your family has always kept alcohol or other substances on hand for social events or special occasions, it may be necessary for everyone to make a lifestyle change to support a loved one during recovery.
The family can participate in activities and hobbies consistent with a substance-free lifestyle.
Just as the individual in recovery will require support from family and friends, it will also be important for family members to have support.
Many family support groups can provide encouragement to help people cope with the emotional and physical stress that can accompany supporting an individual in recovery.
Seeking support for yourself can also have an additional benefit. When your recovering family member sees you asking for support, they may be more likely to seek out support on their own in the form of recovery and aftercare support services .
Below are a few different support groups designed for the friends and family members of recovering addicts:
Recovering alcoholics and drug addicts may be more susceptible to stress and, in turn, to relapse. Some of the most common sources for stress among individuals in recovery include:
Understanding what to expect and how to help a recovering alcoholic or drug addict proceed with recovery can prove to be beneficial. You can offer them resources that can help with stress, such as relationship counseling, adult education, therapy and support groups. In addition, it’s important to focus on yourself and manage your own stress.
Other proven sources of stress relief for you and your loved one include:
Don’t merely suggest stress-relieving activities. Offer to do the activities with them. Encourage open and honest communication, free of blaming language.
Emphasize that recovery takes teamwork and that he or she doesn’t need to do it alone. Keep in mind that you should not expect recovering drug addicts or alcoholics to behave perfectly when they first leave rehab. They will often need time to adjust to life outside of treatment. Your job is to foster and promote a supportive and comfortable environment for he or she to adapt.
Finally, it is imperative that you take action if you believe that your loved one may be at risk of a relapse. You don’t need to wait until the relapse has already occurred. If you believe your family member is in danger of drinking or using again, immediately take steps to provide a safe environment.
Below are a few relapse warning signs that your loved one may be at risk:
If you are concerned your loved one may relapse, you can:
By understanding what is involved in living with a recovering alcoholic or drug addict, you can be better prepared to assist with recovery and offer support to decrease the chance of relapse.