As a close relative of someone with an addiction, you have a crucial part to play in supporting their successful recovery and helping them stay on the right track with their goals. You may not know how best to encourage your loved one, especially if they are new to sobriety and have just begun to take the first steps toward reclaiming their health and wellness. However, your involvement in things like ongoing education and family counseling will make a world of difference. Here are other ways you can help, too.
1. Remove Relapse Triggers From Their Environment
People in recovery need to strategically avoid things that might put them at higher risk of a relapse. That means being willing to make lifestyle changes, some of which might also affect you. For example, because your loved one will need to strictly abstain from drug and alcohol use, you will need to remove any of these substances from your home if they live with you or are planning to come over for a visit. You will also need to help them avoid any social situations where exposure to others’ substance use might be a factor.
2. Help Them Practice Healthy Coping Skills
Stress is unavoidable in modern life. While it’s impractical to try to eliminate stress entirely, that doesn’t mean you can’t create strategies for managing it. In the past, your loved one probably used drugs or alcohol as a crutch for dealing with stressful or challenging situations like a high-pressure job or the breakup of a close relationship. Now, they will have to learn how to handle stressors in sobriety. As a family member, you can help by providing a listening ear in times of turmoil, and by offering helpful advice that can help your loved one solve problems. It can be invaluable for a recovering addict to have someone to turn to when their challenges begin to seem overwhelming and stress is putting them at risk of relapsing.
3. Encourage Them to Find Alternative Activities
After completing a treatment program, it’s likely your family member may need to discover new hobbies to keep them occupied. If they prioritized drug and alcohol use above all else, they may have hours of free time each day with no idea how to fill it. You can help by finding sober things to do together, like taking a class or attending a play. You can also guide them toward local addiction support groups that meet near you.
4. Be Patient
Recovery is not a one-time event; it’s a lifelong process. There is no cure for addiction, but there are ways your loved one can learn to manage their illness and live a happy, productive and healthy life. Don’t get discouraged if you see the addict in your life have a setback or encounter a stumbling block. Those are an inevitable part of addiction recovery. Instead of reacting by getting frustrated, you and your family can treat them as learning experiences that help with growth.
5. Stay Hopeful
Addiction can tear your family apart and strain the bonds between caring family members. But you have a vital role to play in helping your addicted loved one see the potential in their life and keeping them motivated to change for the better. By reiterating your belief in your addicted family member’s ability to shape their future, you can help them be more determined to overcome their addiction.
If someone special to you is in danger of losing everything to drug or alcohol misuse, help them make a fresh start by contacting us at New Found Life. Our compassionate admissions specialists are here to take your call 24 hours per day, seven days a week.