Addiction rarely just affects those who suffer from it. Family and friends of those suffering from substance abuse and addiction often suffer along with them. Guilt, sadness, confusion and unanswered questions can often hinder the recovery process. But, when the family and friend network work together and educate themselves on how they can better support and motivate those loved ones going through treatment, they can be one of the strongest support networks possible. We’ve highlighted in past posts specific questions and actions you can implement to help your loved one. It’s important to remember the role that the family can play in a person’s recovery. Here are a few suggestions and tips for family and friends of those going through or considering recovery and rehabilitation.
Be There, Be Supportive
This is one of the most important factors for family members and friends before, during and after addiction recovery. Staying involved at an appropriate level with your loved one as they traverse the path of recovery is extremely constructive for both you and them. Working and adjusting you and your family’s lifestyle is one way to be supportive of them throughout the rehab process. For instance, removing alcohol from the home for one who is suffering from alcohol addiction, creating a drug-free sober environment helps reduce temptation and helps increase one’s ability to progress through recovery.
Remember that you are part of your loved ones support network, which means that you do not have to go it alone. Leverage this network for help when you need it, strengthening both yourself and your loved one going through treatment. This type of internal Family Therapy will help carry over the recovery of your loved to their home environment.
Stress is a significant factor in drug and alcohol abuse cases, for both the person in recovery and you as their support network. Identifying, removing or reducing stress factors where possible will help create an environment conducive to recovery and rehabilitation. This is important to consider as time goes on as stress can often lead to relapses in addiction. This may require sacrifices for both parties but if executed together with the focus on continued success in rehabilitation, it will be well worth it.
Communication is a major factor in any family relationship, especially when one is going through drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Creating clear lines of constructive communication can help you better understand your loved one’s struggle and be better prepared to help them on their path to rehabilitation. Often times you know your loved one better than anyone else and know how they like to receive and give communication. This is key during the vulnerable early days of recovery. Working with your loved one and the treatment center counselors will help create a communication plan that best fits the needs of your recovering family member.
These suggestions may seem basic, but when practiced during your loved one’s recovery they can be exponentially effective in their success. Remember that both your loved one and you are not alone in the arduous work of addiction recovery and the more prepared the family and support network can be, the better.