Families are like a system of independent parts that affect each other with each action. If one person is in active addiction, it can disrupt the entire equilibrium of the family unit. Even though many view addiction as something the addicted person needs to “fix,” the recovery process is actually highly associated with the rest of the family unit. Determining how to support a loved one in recovery can make all the difference in their success as they receive treatment.
How to Support a Loved One In Recovery
1. Educate Yourself About the Recovery Process
Take the initiative to educate yourself about addiction and the recovery process. This is actually one of the most important things you can do. Gaining an understanding of the situation allows you to play a healthier role in the recovery process. Utilize reputable resources, such as resources provided by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry.
2. Let Your Loved One Know You Are Willing to Help
It’s not uncommon for someone struggling with addiction to be apprehensive about asking for support. If it is not mentioned, volunteer the information to them so they know you are willing to be involved. Entering a recovery program knowing that you have support can make a client feel much better about the life change they are facing.
3. Be Available Always and Present When Necessary
When a loved one enters a recovery program, some are surprised to learn that recovery involves them just as much as the person with the addiction. When learning how to support a loved one in recovery, you have to be available to them and present when you need to be. For example, if a loved one is in an inpatient rehabilitation program and they invite you to a family meeting, it is important to go. You can also be available and present by:
- Communicating with the individual frequently
- Being open to discuss their thoughts and feelings with them
- Taking any opportunity you can to visit when the individual is in an inpatient treatment program
- Holding commitments with your loved one and not letting them down
4. Love the Person In Spite of Their Disease
There is a quote that shows up a great deal in recovery: Love the person and hate the disease. As simple as this sounds, it can be hard to differentiate the individual’s actions due to the addiction from who they really are. Throughout the recovery process, stay focused on the person that you love under the addictive tendencies. This outlook can help you bridge connections that addiction has broken along the way.
5. Set Boundaries and Stick to Them
Setting boundaries is important from the beginning. In many family units, loved ones become enablers for the addicted party because there is a lack of boundaries. Establishing lines you will not allow to be crossed will be doing the individual in recovery a favor, even if they do not particularly like the change.
6. Learn to Accept Setbacks and Move On
There is a high rate of relapse among people who struggle with addiction. Overcoming the addiction is a major life challenge, and relapse or setbacks can happen. As a supportive family member, it is critical that you know setbacks can happen. You must gain the ability to accept these back-steps along the path to sobriety and move forward. Shaming, blaming, or casting doubt or guilt can make it harder for your loved one to move forward.
7. Be Mindful of Your Own Needs
You can only be a supportive family member if you tend to your own well-being. Living with a family member’s addiction can be difficult, depressing, and highly emotional. If you need extra help to get you to a stable place, do what you need to in order to get better.
Contact Atlantic Recovery Center to Learn More
Having a loved one enter a recovery program is life-changing for all parties involved. At the Atlantic Recover Center we offer:
- Intensive outpatient programs
- Partial hospitalization programs
- A small residential treatment program
- Referrals to sober-living or aftercare programs
With a family-style approach to addiction treatment, we aim to heal the family unit with our care. If you are struggling to understand how to support a loved one in recovery, contact the Atlantic Recovery Center at 877.432.0867 to learn more about how you can help.