1. Trust the Experts
When someone you love is consumed by addiction, there is nothing you want more than to help them. But addiction is a complex medical condition. The best way you can help your loved one with their recovery is by trusting them into the hands of competent medical professionals.
As a supportive family member, partner, or friend, you may feel that fixing the problems in your addict’s life is part of loving them. But this is a sure way to frustrate efforts, build resentment, and exhaust your resources.
Additionally, it may take hearing sound advice from an outside source such as a physician or therapists to get the attention of your loved one.
Take the best care of your loved one by entrusting them to addiction recovery experts.
2. Pay Attention to Co-occurring Conditions
Although not always the case, it is quite common for a person with alcohol and other drug use
disorders to also struggle with mental health conditions which impact the treatment process.
These co-occurring disorders include mood and anxiety disorders, such as:
- Bipolar disorder
- Panic disorder
- Generalized anxiety disorder
- Obsessive-compulsive disorder
- Post-traumatic stress disorder
Being aware of co-occurring mental health disorders that can compromise your loved one’s
efforts to get and stay sober, you will be better able to choose a treatment facility that is able to address both conditions.
3. Understand Relapse
It can be difficult to have realistic expectations about substance abuse recovery. You want to see your loved one get clean and maintain sobriety. However, relapse is a reality for many in the recovery process.
Rarely are physical medical problems resolved instantaneously, and setback is an understood part of the process in healing. However, expectations can be skewed when it comes to substance abuse conditions, as family and friends of the addict may not understand that relapse is part of the journey to sobriety. Some people may consider relapse as a failure, but a trained medical professional can explain to you the process of recovery that may take months or years of treatment and effort. Some people will relapse more times than others. The important thing is to understand it is part of the process and that with understanding, support, and a plan of action, your loved one will have the tools they need to find sobriety.
4. Enact Personal Boundaries
Addiction affects not only the life of the addict, but everyone around them: parents, children, spouses/partners, and friends. While addiction takes its toll on the family unit or social circle, you may find yourself focused on the recovery of your loved one, to your own detriment.
For the person closest to the addict, such as a partner or parent, their addiction can become an all-encompassing part of your life. You may find yourself having an identity crisis and feeling that the addiction has taken over your emotional health.
Ask a medical health professional about how addiction affects the family and loved ones of an addict, so you can have a greater understanding of how to take care of yourself in this process.
One of the most important things you can do for yourself is to have healthy boundaries. Understand what is your responsibility, and what is not. A substance abuse professional can help you with this. Learn your boundaries, and how to be supportive, but firm.
Take care of yourself by seeking outside support. There are confidential programs like Families Anonymous, Alateen, and Al-Anon that are designed to help you walk through this process and find support from others who are going through the same thing.