Addiction can be a debilitating condition, and affect the life of not only the afflicted but the lives of everyone around them. The road to recovery can be a difficult path to walk, and much harder to do alone. That’s why it is so important if someone you love struggles with addiction you are as supportive as possible. But many people don’t know how to manifest their good intentions and would like to know how best to help. The following is a list of helpful behaviors to adopt or actions to perform that will aid your contribution to supporting the recovery of a loved one.
Start By Informing Yourself
Begin your journey by learning about how addiction occurs, how it affects mental health and the nature of addiction itself. Knowing the science behind it will help you be more logical and understanding of the condition as a whole. Understanding the substances they abuse can also be comforting in basing a rationale behind the addiction itself, and will also give you a grounding of knowledge when it comes to proposing treatment plans.
Be Aware of Different Treatments, Such As Therapy
Addiction can be treated through various approaches, and sometimes a combination of multiple approaches. A treatment plan may include therapy or counseling – which you may or may not be asked to be involved in. If you are, it is important to commit yourself to the sessions to improve the relationship you have with your loved one or allow them to express themselves fully and work through underlying issues. If the therapy is individual, you must respect the privacy of the practice and allow your loved one to communicate what feels comfortable, at their own pace.
Pharmacological treatment may be another method to encourage recovery from addiction, and it is best to inform yourself of possible side effects this could induce. Address the possibility of these side effects with your loved ones, and actively listen and work through any concerns they may have – this will make it less intimidating for them and make them more likely to take the medication. You can help your loved one to remember to take these prescriptions on time and regularly and remind them of appointments they should keep with their doctor and/or therapist.
This is best when constructing an environment geared towards total sobriety. Your loved one will have access to an empathetic group of peers who share similar experiences and will motivate each other to continue on the road to recovery. A social network like this is great for forming a diverse support system that holds different benefits and approaches to aid recovery. Harris House Treatment and Recovery Center is an example of a professional service that creates a safe environment focused on healing and wellbeing, setting your loved one on a path focused on rebuilding their esteem, understanding their issues, and steering their attention away from addiction to focus on their wellbeing.
Encourage Total Abstinence
Abuse of certain substances can often overlap, and while your loved one may not struggle with an addiction to all substances, they each act as a gateway back into abuse. The best way to prevent relapses is to cut out alcohol and all other drugs in order to set the body into a healthier state of being. Especially with regards to the substance they struggle with, as is the nature of addiction, you cannot control or limit their usage into a safe proportion. In order to recover, they must stay away from the substance entirely.
Alleviate Social Friction
While many cases of addiction affect the lives of lots of people surrounding the afflicted, it is important not to let lingering resentment cloud their chances of recovery. Creating a support system based upon genuine love and an earnest desire to see them better is what will push them through the hardest points of the journey. There may be tension and conflict along the way, but actively working towards resolving issues instead of letting them build up and fester is the best course of action at this time. You can help reduce social friction by being open and honest with your loved one, being patient and flexible in the face of problems to endure, and creating positive memories and opportunities for bonding.
Get to Know the Signs of Relapse
This is unpleasant to consider, but relapse is common and often a part of the total recovery. The best way to deal with it is to recognize the signs early and form a plan ahead of time to combat the addiction and put your loved one back on the right track. Signs of relapse can often be varied among the individual – so keep a close eye on your loved one’s behavior and don’t ignore it when they begin to act out of character. Usually, a relapse will involve keeping secrets from their support system, opening up less, or becoming more uncomfortable talking about their recovery without a reason. You should form a plan based on the nature of your loved one – this could be a discreet and private expression of concern or bringing the whole family together for support and comfort. Remember to be patient, although it is natural to feel upset or disappointed, and also remember addiction is an incredibly difficult thing to overcome.
Don’t Give Up
Keep hope alive and the potential for a full recovery is always on the horizon. If your loved one feels as though no-one believes in them, it can make them feel de-motivated and possibly even send them further back into the addiction they are so desperate to escape. While their journey is ultimately their choice and their battle, your support will mean the world to them, and in the recovery, they will both grateful and appreciative they had a system based on love and care, and someone believed in their strength.
We hope this list helps you support a loved one struggling with addiction and provides relevant information regarding the journey to recovery and health.