When your loved one is struggling with an addiction, it can be easy to feel powerless. While the actions of your child, spouse, parent, friend or sibling is out of your control, there is still a lot you can do to support recovery.
In this article we’ll give you the top six tips for how to help family members in addiction treatment.
1. Encourage professional treatment
The first, and potentially most important thing you can do as a friend or family member is to encourage your loved one to seek professional treatment. Trying to get clean from substances on your own can be dangerous and invites potential opportunities for relapse.
Professional treatment entails psychotherapy and wrap-around support for the best shot at success. The best way to kick start getting sober is with certified providers who are using the most up-to-date practices and research. Bring up getting professional services with your loved one as soon as he or she shares an intent to break free from drugs or alcohol.
2. Commit to listening
Recovering from a substance use habit is a long and emotional journey. Navigating the complex feelings that come with detox can feel overwhelming, but that’s just the start. A person in treatment will also have to address the root of an addiction, even needing to process trauma, past mistakes and insecurities.
Even though therapy is a large component of treatment, many people need to externalize their feelings to find healing.Don’t worry though, all you need to do to help friends in addiction treatment is to be a sounding board for their thoughts and experiences. There’s no pressure on you to give expert advice.
3. Help to minimize triggers
One of the best things you can do for your loved one is to help minimize the presence of triggers, especially early in treatment. In the first weeks or months of treatment, the likelihood of relapse is stronger for several reasons:
- A person’s body is weak from the effort of getting through withdrawal;
- Physical cravings are stronger;
- The brain’s pathways are still wired to prioritize obtaining a substance without rationalizing consequences;
- There are still social connections that make substances easy to obtain;
- A person hasn’t yet built up critical coping skills in treatment.
For these reasons and others, a person recovering from addiction is much more susceptible to triggers. Have a conversation with your loved one about what their triggers are, and what you can do to help eradicate them.
For example, it may be helpful for you to delete contacts in your friend’s phone, monitor your child’s spending or do daily phone calls during your brother’s loneliest time of day.
4. Keep track of the logistics
If your friend or family member has recently gone through withdrawal, it’s likely that there’s still some lingering “brain fog.” One of the easiest ways for helping friends in addiction treatment is to take on a little extra responsibility and remember treatment schedules, appointments and medications.
You can also help iron out transportation, insurance issues, paying medical bills and so on. While these tasks should not fall only on your shoulders; when a person is going through recovery it can be a huge stress relief to have help in these areas. Consider sharing these duties with other family and friends, too.
5. Learn the facts
While you may not understand addiction recovery first hand, you can work to learn facts and information that make you more equipped to walk the rocky road with your loved one.
Understanding that withdrawal is psychically excruciating and even potentially lethal can help you understand why it may take a few tries. Knowing that irritability is a side effect of drugs leaving the body can prevent you from taking an argument personally. While it doesn’t make for light reading, being informed on addiction can prove invaluable.
Find reputable sources of information specific to the substance(s) your friend is in treatment for, like the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration or the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
6. Keep the home environment stress-free
Every relationship has disagreements at some point, but when your loved one is going through treatment for substance use addiction, it’s best to refrain from causing friction within your family.
While family stress doesn’t directly cause addiction, it can surely be a contributing factor to a person resorting back to drugs or alcohol. If family relations have been a trigger to use in the past, extra energy should be put towards keeping the peace at home.
Reach out today
If your loved one has struggled with addiction and having success in treatment, don’t give up hope. With the right support and professional services in place, anyone can recover from drug or alcohol abuse and return to a meaningful life.
While you can have a big impact on your friend or family member’s recovery, it is not up to you to do everything. Enlist the help of medical and addiction specialists at Real Recovery Clinical Services.
At Real Recovery, your loved one will receive individualized and holistic care and be on his or her way to long-term sobriety in no time. Call today, 855-363-7325.