Addiction affects millions of people each year, but many addicts eventually find the strength to overcome their illness and reach a state of recovery. This process can be lengthy and challenging no matter the circumstances, and many addicts will appreciate the extra help and support. When it comes to addiction treatment recovery, it can be most successful with the empathetic support of a loved one, but providing that support is sometimes easier said than done.
Supporting a loved one through their addiction recovery can come with a plethora of tribulations, and some people may not know where to start. Not all recovering addicts will respond to support in the same ways, and there’s hardly one definitive technique that will significantly contribute to a loved one’s recovery. Fortunately, there are various options for family members who want to let their loved one know that they are prepared to help, no matter how big or small that help may be.
Understand What Brought Them to Recovery
Before you can provide support to a loved one living in recovery, it’s crucial to understand how they got to the point of recovery in the first place. If they’re open to sharing details, learning what a loved one was addicted to can help contextualize what they’ve been going through and possibly build an understanding of their dependency issues. This can then open a dialogue on how they recognized they had an addiction and how they started on their addiction treatment journey.
In the end, getting all of this information should allow you to better empathize with your loved one and create a mutual trust centered on your desire to help aid in their recovery.
Become Part of Their Support System
One of the greatest assets to recovering addicts is a robust support system when pursuing addiction recovery. This is usually a collection of reliable friends and family members who understand a loved one’s recovery story and can be called on in moments of crisis.
In most cases, the more people in a support system, the better. Becoming a part of your loved one’s support system can help ensure that they have no shortage of helpful people to depend on.
Once you’ve become a part of your loved one’s support system, there are a couple of effective techniques for maintaining their recovery progress.
Remind Them of Their Progress
Addiction treatment is hardly ever easy, and sometimes people who are recovering may have second thoughts about how well they are recovering. It’s important in these instances to remind your loved one of just how far they’ve come in their recovery and how much better they’ll get if they continue to stay determined. It’s very easy for an addict to lose a significant amount of recovery progress after a relapse, so reinforcing how well they’ve been doing can be a crucial part of keeping them on track.
Reassure Them If They Have Doubts
There may come a time in a loved one’s addiction treatment when they’ll have doubts about whether or not they should continue their treatment. This is the most important time to reassure your family member and let them know that whatever treatment they are going through is responsible for the healthy progress they’ve made so far. It might take repeated insistence, but continuous support can significantly benefit a recovering addict’s sense of perspective.
Check for Relapses
There may come a time during a loved one’s addiction recovery when they experience a relapse of some kind. Identifying when this happens won’t always be easy, but there are a few telltale signs to look out for, as well as methods for getting a loved one back on track with their addiction treatment.
Signs That a Recovering Addict Has Relapsed
When a recovering addict relapses, it can be tough to pick up on behaviors that indicate that they have returned to using. Some relapsed addicts may be especially secretive about their current state because they feel either ashamed or resentful, but there are some things to look out for if you suspect your recovering loved one has relapsed. The most common signs are as follows:
- Increased irritability or anger
- Erratic self-care habits, such as eating or sleeping
- Impaired coordination
- Unexplained weight loss or weight gain
- Sudden financial or legal difficulties
- Visible addiction-related paraphernalia (syringes, empty bottles, etc)
How to Reestablish Support for a Relapsed Addict
In many cases, once a recovering addict has relapsed, they’ll have to start their addiction from square one. Given most people’s unique addiction situation, there won’t always be one answer for reestablishing support, but there are a few effective ways to start. Removing the source of addiction and ensuring your loved one doesn’t regain access to it can be an important first step, and getting them to a rehab center can be a great way to enlist some more professional help.
No matter the addiction, relapses should be taken very seriously, and immediately assisting your loved one can be the most vital part of ensuring that their condition doesn’t worsen.
Find a Recovery Support Group
While a personal support system can be an effective way to help a loved one going through addiction treatment, support groups can also be an effective tool for helping your loved one maintain their sobriety. Interacting with other recovering addicts can show your family that they are not alone in their journey because other people are going through the same experience. It allows for a more sympathetic support system to be built, giving your loved one a chance to commiserate with those who know exactly how they’re feeling.
When trying to support a recovering loved one, the best thing you can do is to remain as patient as possible. Addiction isn’t easy, and the recovery process can make some people feel very vulnerable and susceptible to scrutiny. Some addicts may place blame on those trying to help them, some may be unreceptive to the care of their loved ones, but as long as you stay persistent and focus on their sobriety, then your loved one should be able to stay on the path towards a bright and healthy future.