How to Love and Support Someone in Recovery
As a family member of someone in recovery from an addiction you may think rehab is the most important part. You may even believe once a rehab program is complete, everything will go back to “normal”, or the pre-addiction phase you long for. In reality, this is only the beginning. Recovering from an addiction is a lengthy process which will encompass triumphant moments and hardships. Anyone wishing to maintain sobriety will need to be determined and committed to his or her recovery. To aid in this, as a loved one, it will be useful for you to support the recovering individual and thereby motivate them to live a healthy, sober life.
You might wonder how to love and support someone in recovery? This can be a common concern for family, friends and other loved ones of addicts who have tried to offer various forms of support, but fail at their previous attempts. The sheer idea of a person coming home from rehab can be overwhelming in a sense that you may not be used to this individual being sober. You may not know how they will be, or even how you should be. Ongoing hardship like financial issues, health problems and relationship challenges could provoke stressful situations and obstacles which could hinder the overall recovery process. Naturally, these thoughts can be scary.
In reality, this should be a heartwarming time in which you can take hold of the opportunity to reconnect and grow with this person. That being said, if you’re searching for advice on supporting a person in recovery, you’ve came to the right place. As a Thailand rehab center, we often talk to family members and friends about what they can expect when their loved one returns home from treatment. Part of this includes the various ways to offer support, love and guidance.
Remain Supportive of Continuous Therapy
Just because your loved one has gone to rehab does not mean they are “cured”. 12 step groups refer to it as a ““temporary reprieve” and to take things “one day at a time”. Recovering addicts may want to continue going to support groups, meetings or therapy sessions. They may even ask you to go with them. These can be important for their recovery and your support of these vital efforts will be useful.
Accept Your Loved One for Who They Are
Like any type of relationship, accepting a person as they are is essential. It will not be conducive to recovery if you pretend their addiction, or past behaviors, do not exist. Moreover attempting to change them or their beliefs will only exacerbate obstacles. All of these things, these characteristics, are what makes them who they are. As someone who wants only the best, you should support them no matter what.
Remember They May Still Be Finding Their Self
Coinciding with the above it’s important to take into consideration that drug or alcohol abuse can mask the addicts’ personality. They may have lost touch with who they are, what they believe, what they know or anything else that makes them unique. Rehab and recovery will help a person to discover their inner self, but it can take years for things to really come to light. Your loved one may feel lost or confused. They may even become upset at the thought of losing part of them to addiction. In this situation, giving the recovering addict space to explore their feelings as well as necessary private time for themselves should be understandable. However, it can be helpful to remind them that you are there should they want to talk about these things.
Support the Importance of Sobriety
When living with, or regularly around, a drug addict or alcoholic in recovery, it’s important to maintain a sober lifestyle as well. This will help the individual stay away from temptations and be as much out of the using environment as possible. While your loved one is at rehab, make an effort to empty the home of any substances which could be intoxicating. This does not only include the drug of choice, but any medications, solvents or items which could be used to get high. The reason for this is should the potential for a relapse occur, there is a more likelihood of a person turning to anything to get high if they are not able to access their preferred drug. If you must have medications in your house, like painkillers, keep them locked up for the time being.
Take Care of Yourself
You will not be able to love and support someone in recovery if you don’t make an effort to look after yourself. Just as the recovering addict will require solace from those in his or her life, you also will benefit from consol and reassurance. There is numerous family support groups set up to offer encouragement and advice which will aid in arising challenges like emotional or physical stressors. By ensuring your wellbeing is looked after, you will be prepared to support your recovering loved one. Moreover, you are setting a good example which could promote the individual to also seek out recovery and aftercare support services.
If you’re not sure where to begin, but would like to reach out to support groups for family members, try the following options:
- Nar-Anon - A 12 step based support group for family and friends of current and recovering drug addicts.
- Al-Anon - A 12 step based support group for family and friends of current and recovering alcoholics.
- Adult Children of Alcoholics - A support group for adults who grew up in an alcoholic household or environment.
- Families Anonymous - Based on the 12 steps, this group offers a complete program and support group for anyone who has been affected by drug or alcohol abuse as well as, mental health issues.
Continuing to Love and Support an Addict in Recovery
You may struggle to forget the past, but during this time, it’s important to work through any conflicts, relationship problems or wrongdoings which you may have witnessed or encountered. Addiction, unfortunately, will leave wounds on the addict and the people closest to them. You may feel a wealth of emotions and in all fairness may need some space and time to recover yourself. What’s important is that you recognize this and make an effort to resolve these feelings in a healthy way.
When you are able to show love and support for a recovering addicts needs, you are demonstrating one of the most beautiful aspects or actions of a human being. This is something that cannot be explained in words, but will be noted, felt and remembered by the person you are showing love to.