How to Support a Loved One in Recovery
Recovery is a challenging journey, not only for the person struggling with substance abuse, but also for family members and loved ones. Creating and encouraging a sober lifestyle is not an overnight process, but it is a worthwhile one that can help your loved one in recovery.
At Extra Mile Recovery, we know that addiction can strain family relationships, and our family therapy program seeks to repair broken bonds. Here is some advice to give to family members to support their loved one as they maintain their sobriety.
1. Learn About What Your Loved One Is Experiencing
Addiction often does not make sense to those who aren’t using, so it is helpful to research substance abuse and learn about the science behind it, including why it becomes addiction; what happens in rehab, such as detox, treatments, and programming; and the triggers your loved one is likely to be facing in their daily lives, which may not seem like much to you but can be devastating for them.
Doing so will help you understand why it’s so hard for your loved one to simply stop using, and help you begin to understand and empathize with what they are going through. It may also give you the perspective to more easily communicate with your loved one on their level, rather than purely as an outsider.
2. Encourage Sober Solidarity Around Your Loved One
It is very easy for an individual struggling with substance abuse to turn “just a drink” into a relapse. If your family member lives at home with you, take action to remove alcohol or other intoxicating substances. Keep necessary prescriptions locked away and discard old medicines.
If the family member doesn’t live with you, offer to help them do a sweep of their home to remove potential triggers. Removing them will go a long way to helping your family member focus on their recovery.
3. Help Your Loved One Keep a Schedule
Keeping a schedule can help your loved one create structure and order in a life that previously only revolved around their addiction. Ask your loved one what sober activities are important to them and bring meaning to their lives and try to help them plan their lives around those activities.
If they are employed, help them schedule out their days when they work and when they don’t, so there is less stress over potential triggers during free time. You can also help keep them accountable by ensuring that they show up to work and providing them with reliable transportation, which is a concern for many employers.
4. Establish Boundaries
It’s natural for you to want to protect your loved one from further harm in recovery. Establish boundaries with them and let them know that you’re happy to help them stay sober, but you are not going to help them use.
Showing love does not mean unconditional support no matter what; it often means that you need to make it clear that your help is conditional on their continuing treatment and respecting the rules you put in place.
5. Attend Family Therapy Sessions
Another important way to show your support is by taking part in and being fully involved in family therapy sessions. Our family therapy sessions at Extra Mile Recovery allow our clients to repair their relationships, ease tension and stress, and rebuild their support networks.
Family therapy also allows the clients to share their struggles with family in a healthy setting. Family members can see firsthand the hard work their loved one is putting into recovery and can not only learn what their loved one will be going through, but also how they can help assist them in the goal of a sober lifestyle. Family members can also share how their loved one’s addiction has hurt them and share their truths, allowing the client to see how their disease has affected others around them.
Family Therapy at Extra Mile Recovery
At Extra Mile Recovery, we think it’s important to involve family in treatment as early and often as we can. We have an experienced family interventionist who visits our rehab center every other week for two separate days, during which time clients can discuss specific issues with family members in a private, supportive setting.
Though family therapy is not a requirement at Extra Mile Recovery, it is highly encouraged. Learn more about family therapy or call us at (662) 635-8334 today if you or a loved one are struggling with addiction.