November 28, 2012
When we think about the negative consequences and devastating impact of drug addiction, we focus primarily on the addict. While the addict he or herself is the center of attention, addiction is in reality a family disease. When the addict is struggling with substance abuse, the family unit comes under terrible strain, and the relationships and communication between family members can fall apart at the seams. When the addict finally accepts drug treatment and is on the road to recovery, the addict’s family is also on a similar trajectory. The family member of an addict not only must recover along with the addict, they must find ways to support the addict in a way that is healthy and not enabling.
If your family needs help in finding ways to support a family member who is in recovery, call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center toll-free today. Our experienced representatives can tell you about our family addiction programming.
Ways You Can Support a Family Member in Recovery
Learn About Addiction
In order to truly help and support a family member who is struggling with addiction, you must take the time to learn about the disease of addiction. It is important to know about physical, mental and spiritual aspects of addiction in its entirety. Contact local addiction specialists and do extensive research online. The more you know about addiction and how the abuse of substances impacts your loved one, you and your family can come up with productive ways to address the problem.
You can also join a mutual self-help group such as Al-Anon or Nar-Anon. These groups was created by family members of addicts, and they provide a strong knowledge base as well as an excellent source of support and encouragement. When you go to a family support group, other family members are going through similar experiences and can share with you how they are overcoming obstacles and helping their loved ones recover from addiction.
Offer Your Support
In the recovery process, it is important that you and your family offer continue to love and support while your loved one is in recovery. This can be difficult given the fact that your recovering family member had done everything in their power to manipulate and turn family members against each other while they were active in their addiction. In spite of what might have happened in the past, it is important to recognize they are making the effort to embrace recovery. Be willing to offer your help and support.
Encourage Participation in Sober Support Groups
Family members who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol can receive tremendous benefits from self-help sober support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) or Narcotics Anonymous (NA). For those family members who are also struggling with other disorders along with substance abuse, there are some peer support groups are specifically for people with co-occurring disorders. An example of such a support group is Dual Recovery Anonymous.
Encouraging a loved one to become actively involved in a peer support group is an important way of supporting his or her sobriety. You can help facilitate their participation by going to meetings with your loved one in order to help them find the right meeting that fits them. You can also adjust your schedule accordingly so you can be free to attend meetings with a loved one. It is also helpful to know about the philosophy behind the peer support group your recovering family member is planning on joining, so you can incorporate it into family life.
Help Your Loved One Create Their Own Support Network
There in no doubt that having the support and encouragement of family is vital to your loved one maintaining their recovery. However, it is equally as important they find friends and other acquaintances that are supportive of their substance-free lifestyle. The key to maintaining sobriety is for the addict to spend a majority of their time surrounded by those who don’t use drugs and alcohol. This will take some time, but the end result is healthier and more rewarding relationships.
Be Aware of the Signs of Relapse
The reality of addiction is that urges and cravings come and go, and there always is a possibility that your loved one can relapse. Relapses can disrupt not only your loved one’s life but also the lives of other family members. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of relapse and have a plan in place for addressing them if and when they appear.
These “red flags” can be both subtle and obvious. While there are relapse signs and symptoms that are universal, it is important to note that your loved one will have signs of relapse that are unique. You can help minimize or prevent relapses by doing the following:
- knowing your loved one’s early warning signs of relapse
monitoring your loved one to detect possible warning signs; keeping your eyes open and noticing changes
developing a family plan in advance, together with the loved one, for responding to the signs of a possible relapse or an actual relapse
involving other important people (such as treatment providers) in making a relapse prevention plan
Keep the Hope Alive…Recovery is Possible
Perhaps the most important way that you can support a loved one in recovery is to remain hopeful and optimistic. Believe in your loved one’s ability to get better and become a better person. Celebrate the small victories and provide support in times of uncertainty. Ultimately, hope can provide the motivation your family member needs to take control of their life.
Help Give the Gift of Recovery
If a family member is losing their battle with addiction, you and your family must act quickly in order to help them reclaim their life. Ocean Breeze Recovery Center can help by providing your loved one an individualized plan of treatment drawn from our wide variety of effective therapy programs, life and coping skills training, relapse prevention programs, and aftercare. Call Ocean Breeze Recovery Center right now and give your loved one the ultimate gift of recovery.