Last week, we talked about recovering from addiction in an article that explains how to make a recovery easier. In today’s article, we will talk about helping a loved one who is going through this process.
People recovering from addiction need all the support they can get, so if your partner, friend, or family member is struggling with this problem, it’s important to be there for them.
When your loved one starts their treatment, you might feel overwhelmed by different kinds of emotions. These vary from relief that they are finally seeking treatment to anxiety, shame, and anger. It’s important to control these emotions and to learn how to provide them with the support they need.
Let’s explore some tips on what you should and should not do.
Don’t Criticize Them
You might be tempted to blame your loved one for their addiction. Don’t do that. Remember that they are struggling, and they need your support and compassion. Plus, shaming or criticizing them can even make it harder for them to overcome their addiction. Therefore, avoid punishing, arguing, shaming, or nagging them, as you might involuntarily trigger a relapse.
Instead, treat them with kindness and make sure they know you are there for them. The best thing you can do for them is to encourage them to recover from their addiction and try to keep a positive mood.
Knowledge is power. To help someone recovering from an addiction, you first need to understand what they are going through and how their problem can be solved. Therefore, it’s important to educate yourself on how the addiction manifests and how it can be treated. You also need to get information about what you should and should not do to help them.
Research information about different types of addiction, treatment options, and symptoms. By understanding what your loved one is going through, you will be able to provide them with the support they need. Plus, you’ll find it easier to be compassionate about them, as you will understand that addiction is a disease.
Don’t hesitate to seek support and encourage your loved one to do the same. Having someone who deals with addiction in your life can be challenging, and you should do everything you can to maintain your mental health.
Therefore, it could be very beneficial for you to join a support group. There, you can share your experiences and get advice from people dealing with similar issues. If you feel the need to, you should also seek professional help. Reach out to a therapist, as they can offer you expert guidance on how to help your loved one while also taking care of yourself.
Also, encourage your loved one to also seek help. Your support might not be enough for them, and talking to a professional or with people who are going through a similar experience could be highly beneficial for their recovery. In fact, statistics show that people who join support groups reduce their chance of relapse from 7% to 24%.
Set Realistic Expectations
When your loved one starts their recovery journey, you might set high expectations for them. Unfortunately, things are not as easy as they seem, and it might take them a while to fully recover. That’s why it is important to be patient and to set realistic expectations. Otherwise, you risk ending up frustrated or disappointed.
Recovery is an ongoing process, and people going through this need all the support they can get. Keep in mind that there is always the risk of relapse. Setting realistic expectations will help you avoid lecturing or shaming your loved one. It will also help you avoid disappointment. So, don’t expect them to change overnight, and try to keep an encouraging and positive attitude.
Help Them Avoid Triggers
When recovering from addiction, it’s important for people who go through this process to stay away from anything that might trigger a relapse. These triggers can be anything from people to places, events, or feelings.
So, if you want to help your loved ones, you should make sure that they stay away from anything that reminds them of their addiction. However, keep in mind that, ultimately, it is their responsibility to stay sober, so don’t blame yourself in case of a relapse.
To distract them from cravings and potential triggers, you can try to engage with them in sober activities. Encourage them to find new interests or pursue new hobbies. For example, you can sign up for a class together, try a new sport, or just hang out regularly.
Having a loved one recover from addiction is not easy, so you need to remember to also take care of yourself during this process. If you are concerned about your well-being, don’t hesitate to seek professional help.