Recovering from addiction is hard for everyone — it’s exhausting mentally and physically for the one actually undergoing treatment, but it’s also challenging for the family and friends to sit by and watch.
Often, we want to help our loved ones when they’re struggling, but when it comes to addiction recovery, you may be stuck wondering how exactly are you supposed to help. True recovery requires guidance from professional therapists — a title most of us don’t hold.
What many don’t realize is that family and friends have the chance to play a significant role in their loved one’s recovery. By showing your support for their choices to pursue treatment, you have the potential to keep them on this path even when the days get hard.
How to help a loved one with addiction
So how exactly do you show that support in more ways than just telling your loved one, “I support you”?
We’re glad you asked.
Increase your understanding of substance use disorders
Addiction, whether to alcohol, drugs or both, is not a commonly discussed topic, meaning a lot of people don’t have a comprehensive knowledge of the way addiction overpowers and influences brain chemistry. Plus, each substance has different impacts, meaning each various drug will show different signs and produce its own withdrawal symptoms.
Supporting your loved one starts with understanding what they’re experiencing as best you can. Take time to research the impacts of addiction, the treatment and time required to overcome it and the long-term effects a drug may have on a person. Even consider meeting with an addiction counselor to gain a better understanding of addiction, as well as ways you can help your loved one recover from certain substances in particular.
Help make the first call
A huge challenge to recovery is taking that first step of reaching out for help. If you notice your loved one showing a desire for treatment, but struggling to make that first call, offer to help. Sit with them while they research treatment facilities, provide insight or suggestions when asked and be present when they call or email a treatment center for the first time. And follow up with them after the fact — ask if they’ve thought more about it or how else you can help them in this process.
While it may feel like showing support, giving your loved one money, somewhere to live rent-free (for an unnecessary length of time) or providing them with most of their needs so they’re not motivated to get a job is not helpful in their recovery process. A vastly important step in treatment is learning that one’s actions have consequences, and the best way for you to avoid enabling and show support is not by fending off these consequences, but by encouraging your loved one to persevere through them.
Consider offering them rides to and from work; helping them polish their resume; tour new apartments with them. Anything that gives them support to start taking their own steps will be to their benefit.
If your loved one does not have access to a car, consider offering to drive them to and from treatment or counseling sessions. If your loved one is not participating in inpatient treatment, you may have to drive them daily, but this is a beautiful witness of how important you also believe their recovery to be.
Make the home a dry environment
If your loved one is staying with you during the duration of treatment, it would behoove everyone to make the home a dry environment. Having easy access to substances — including alcohol and prescription medication — provides too much room for relapse, so keeping medications locked up and the home free of alcohol would be prudent.
Not only does this create a safe environment in your home, but it shows your loved one that you yourself are also willing to make sacrifices in order to help them achieve maximum freedom and recovery.
Attend any family sessions
Many treatment centers will provide family therapy sessions during the duration of treatment as the family unit is often damaged during the course of addiction. Your loved one is experiencing some challenging sessions on their own, so showing up to engage in these sessions with them not only shows your dedication to their recovery, but it proves that you’re also willing to have hard discussions in pursuit of healing.
Encourage treatment retention
Following their time in recovery, your loved one will have to continue attending outpatient sessions; these sessions provide ongoing support and check-ins for your loved one to help reduce the risk of relapse and maintain long-term recovery. During this vulnerable time in recovery, consider checking in on your loved one periodically to see how post-treatment sessions are going. Encourage them to continue attending for the sake of their well-being.
Addiction recovery support
Your loved one is going to need a lot of support as they journey through recovery, but you, too, have important needs. If you are struggling during this time, help is also available for you! Or, if you’re seeking a treatment center for your loved one, look no further.
High Focus Centers is happy to provide services to both those battling addiction and to their family members and friends. Whether you are pursuing help for yourself or a loved one, reach out to High Focus Centers today.
Contact us to learn more or by calling 800-877-3628.