Many people who have struggled with addiction will be the first to tell you that addiction in itself is a relationship killer. Addiction and associated behaviors have a way of affecting all personal relationships, putting them under immense strain.
As addiction develops over time, it begins to dominate an addict’s life and relationships tend to fall by the wayside.
If you are looking to support a recovering alcoholic or drug addict who is close to you, here’s how you can help on their road to sobriety.
5 Ways to Support a Recovering Drug Addict
The first thing to come to terms with is that recovery is not a ”phase”. Recovery, is in fact, a lifelong process that dramatically changes someone’s life path. Recovery will change a person’s outlook on life, their goals, behavior, life expectations and relationships along with it.
If you’re really committed to helping someone with addiction, you have to be in it for the long-haul too.
One of the greatest challenges faced by loved ones and close friends is not knowing how to help, despite their commitment to doing so. This is especially difficult for those who may have enabled addictive behavior in the past.
Here are 5 simple ways on how to help an addict and show your support of their recovery…
1. Educate Yourself
As they say, knowledge is power. Understanding the complexities of addiction will help you understand what your loved one or friend is going through.
Addiction in itself is a very complex issue that is often caused by previous life trauma. It also tends to run concurrently with another disorder such as depression.
The best way you can help is to understand how addiction works. Realize that addiction is a disease and not simply a ”life choice”.
Understanding potential triggers, health issues, enabling behavior, and the recovery process will also help a lot.
Learn the psychological changes that both addiction and recovery causes so that you know what to expect down the road of recovery. Having a clear understanding of addiction and recovery will help you to better relate to your loved one or friend and help prevent relapse.
The Recovery Process
The life-long road to recovery will vary depending on the type of addiction and treatment received. But if you are directly involved in a person’s recovery, here’s what you should know:
- You will need to re-establish trust in your relationship and have to work on building up this trust continually, over time
- You must be open and honest about your feelings during recovery and how their addiction has affected you
- Try not to openly blame, humiliate or criticize during counseling sessions-simply describe what life has been like for you
- Be prepared for the fact that your loved one or friend may suggest that you contributed to or enabled their addiction
- If you want your loved one or friend to change, you will most likely need to change too
All in all, try to remain open-minded during their recovery and show that you are willing to try. If you are willing to change, it will most likely motivate them to do so too.
2. Prepare For Extended, Life-Long Problems
Once an addict has exited their stay at rehabilitation, this is where the true road to recovery begins. Everything will change, and for the most part, it will be for the better.
But keep in mind that addiction creates life-long problems and is often a deep-seated issue that takes time to work through. To this end, be prepared for peaks and troughs throughout the recovery process-it won’t always be easy.
Some common issues that tend to crop up include financial problems as a recovering addict tries to rebuild a career or pay off debt.
Health issues may also arise, while others may be permanent and require life-long treatment, such as HIV.
Relationship issues, however, are the most common as it takes time to rebuild trust and a sense of authenticity in your relationship. Of course, there is also the reality of relapse and beginning from scratch after each round of rehabilitation.
3. Be Realistic About Your Expectations
For any loved one or close friend their ultimate end-goal is to see an addict clean, sober and living a happy life with meaning.
Many loved ones believe that addiction is the source of all relationship and life issues. However, addiction is usually a side effect of many deeper issues.
What’s important to know is that by completing a stint rehab, an addict is not simply “cured”.
It takes time, effort, open communication, and constant support to work through all the issues associated with addiction and recovery.
Try not to show disappointment if someone you love is not recovering at the pace you expected. And as for relapse, it’s important to accept that this a constant possibility, but with enough support, it can be avoided!
4. Make Necessary Changes to Support Their Sobriety
When it comes to showing your support for a recovering addict, especially in the first months after treatment, making changes on your end is important.
Some of these changes include removing all addictive substances from your home, avoiding certain social gatherings, and finding new sober activities. You may also need to put more focus on healthy, active aspects of your life to show that life has a beautiful diversity to it that should be embraced.
Work on building up relationships with sober friends who are a good influence on both you and your loved one.
5. Remember to Be Fair to Yourself
During the recovery process, try not to lose yourself in the support of your loved one.
Yes, you may need to pick up the slack in terms of finances, emotional stability, and daily responsibilities. But do not allow this to become a habit or the norm over time.
Remember to be fair to yourself. Prioritize your own needs, both emotionally and mentally, and don’t neglect yourself in the support of another.
Ultimately this can lead to feelings of resentment down the line which could be disastrous for any relationship you’re trying to rebuild!
Change Your Life With Recovery Addiction Center
Whether you’re a drug addict, alcoholic or both, Recovery Addiction Center in Daly City, CA is here to help you change your life around.
If you suspect a friend or loved one to be struggling with addiction, we accept all those in need of help in tackling their first steps towards sobriety.
Get in touch with us at Recovery Addiction Center today for the intervention and life change you’re looking for.