“How can I support my loved one’s recovery?” is a question often asked by many people. Do you or someone you know have a partner or loved one who recently received help for their struggle with substance use? That’s fantastic! However, that is only the first step in the process. Many people think when someone enters a treatment center, whether that be Detox, Rehab, IOP, or Outpatient that eventually their addiction will be ‘cured’, not realizing the lifelong effects of Addiction and subsequent recovery. Much like other ‘diseases’, Addiction is progressive & can be fatal if it is not treated and monitored. It impacts the person emotionally, physically, psychologically & mentally, and socially, so much so that it is often described as a ‘family disease’. In addition to the significant amount of work the substance user will have to put in to get & maintain sobriety, The ‘family disease’ implies that it affects everyone & their quality of life, requiring support & changes on the part of everyone in relation to the substance user.
Family members often find this frustrating because they have already been put out & impacted by their loved one’s using and now they have to make changes too?! Although it seems unfair, it is true if they want their partner & or loved one’s to have the best chance of prolonged abstinence. So, where are the family members supposed to begin? This brings me to the main question people ask, “How can I support my loved one’s recovery?”
Here are some ways to provide support:
- Learn about the disease of addiction, trauma, etc. There is a lot of ‘quit lit‘ (books, websites, youtube videos, etc)
- Support their attendance at meetings & therapy and the time commitment they will have to make to their recovery process
- Consider attending your own support group (Alanon, Naranon, CODA) & therapy to process your own emotions associated with their recovery and to learn about codependency/enabling patterns
- Inquire about their boundaries in social situations, ie: How do they feel about you drinking? Are they telling people about their recovery?
- Discuss accountability & how you two will manage relapses if they happen
- Ask how they want to celebrate recovery anniversaries & if they would like you to participate
- Understand it is a lifelong process & that they will have cravings and triggers
If you’ve identified with anything you’ve read in this blog & would like additional support, please reach out for help today at 1-201-488-6678 or visiting specializedtherapy.com. We look forward to hearing from you!