The transition into sobriety is challenging for both the addict and their loved ones. It’s something families have to deal with together, which isn’t a simple process, as those struggling with addiction often shut down and pull away from others, despite it being a time where family support is what they need most.
That being said, it’s important for family members to take measures toward maintaining healthy relationships with their loved one in recovery. Put these methods into practice to show your support and help give your loved one the most viable chance of lasting sobriety.
1. Learn as much as you can about addiction.
Educating yourself on addiction, the science behind it and how treatment helps demonstrates your commitment to helping your loved one get well. It also provides a more objective, straightforward explanation of why addiction occurs instead of blaming it on your loved one’s lack of willpower or weaknesses.
2. Participate in therapy.
Individual and family therapy are two valuable ways to work on improving yourself and show your support for your loved one. Individual therapy provides a safe space in which you can freely express your emotions and deal with the challenges of what it’s been like for you to parent, live with or be friends with an addict. This one-on-one time can also help you address codependency issues and teach you how to replace enabling behaviors with healthier ones.
Family therapy is vital to a successful, lasting recovery because addiction affects the entire family. In family therapy, you’ll work with a therapist to address family dynamics, as well as learn how to communicate more effectively and handle conflict.
Participating in therapy shows your loved one that you want to be involved in their recovery and are actively working on improving yourself and your understanding of your loved one’s struggles.
3. Find support.
Addiction can be isolating both for the addict and their loved ones, but the strength you find in giving and receiving support and talking openly about your circumstances can make you feel less alone. Attending support groups for loved ones of addicts in recovery is an excellent way to meet other people who can empathize with what you’re going through.
4. Make yourself a priority.
When your loved one is struggling with addiction, it’s easy to get caught up in worrying about their health and well-being, but don’t neglect taking care of yourself. Make sure you prioritize self-care by getting plenty of sleep, eating well, exercising and doing things you enjoy that contribute to your overall well-being.
5. Go substance-free.
Your loved one isn’t the only one who needs to make a lifestyle change. The home environment where your loved one will return after treatment needs to be a space where they feel safe and supported. That may require you to remove addictive substances from the home. If substance use tends to fill free time, it might be wise to replace it with sober activities, like going for a walk or going to the movies.
6. Be prepared for relapse.
Every person in recovery needs a plan for relapse prevention, and that goes for their loved ones too. If your loved one relapses, you need a plan for how you’ll respond. You can work on creating a relapse prevention plan in family therapy.
7. Be patient.
Recovery is a journey, not a sprint. Be patient with your loved one and yourself as you both navigate this new stage of life.
Immersion Recovery Center recognizes the importance of family involvement and healing in addiction recovery. That’s why our family program is structured to give family members the tools they need to support their loved one by exploring family roles, learning about the science of addiction and developing healthy skills for communication and conflict management. Our clinical and counseling staff work with family members throughout the course of their loved one’s treatment to establish a relationship where there is support, trust and no judgment.
To learn more about how our family program can help you or someone you love, contact us at 561.419.3349.