There is no quick fix for addiction. It is a treatable, chronic disease that requires life-long support. The process of addiction recovery is both physically and emotionally taxing, and it takes a lot of courage; no one should have to go it alone. Having a support system to keep you on the right track is essential to your recovery journey. Whether it is the family you grew up with or those you choose to surround yourself with, anyone can be your support system. All that matters is that you have people who care about you and encourage you to be your best self.
What to Expect While Your Loved One is in Recovery
After completing a program, those in addiction recovery will still need to keep up their progress upon leaving. They will struggle with many things that may come easily to others. It is important to understand the challenges that they will face to help them through it.
Some of the things someone in early recovery may struggle with include:
- Dealing with trauma or challenges without substances
One of the most challenging things in recovery will be dealing with difficult situations while keeping sobriety. A devastating event, a stressful time of change, and more could tempt someone in early recovery to use again to cope. Yoga, zentangle, and music are just some of the activities we teach at for patients to carry with them after leaving to help them cope with cravings.
- Repairing old relationships and starting new ones
A part of treatment is to make amends with your past, healthy relationships. People who are actively suffering from addiction often behave in ways toward their loved ones that affect their relationships negatively.
There is also the possibility of running into friends or acquaintances from when they were actively using. Old friends who are still suffering from addiction can be a trigger for someone in recovery.
Finally, it may be difficult to start up new relationships and learn to behave differently than they once did while fighting addiction.
This may sound hard to believe, but boredom is a very serious challenge for those who are recovering from addiction. Boredom can easily tempt someone to begin using substances again.
Relapsing is one of the biggest challenges a person in recovery can face. This is something that they have to fight every day as cravings, stress, temptations, and more can challenge them to use again. Our prevention program at Neil Kennedy works to teach prevention to our patients, schools, local employers, and communities. Relapsing can be common, so taking steps to prevent it is essential in a person’s recovery journey.
What Not to Do When Your Loved One is in Recovery
It is easy to fall into certain behaviors around your recovering family member, but you must avoid any behaviors that will not be encouraging to their recovery.
Some things you should avoid doing include:
- Treating them like a child
You may want to micro-manage your loved one after they’ve returned from rehabilitation. But they need to know they have their independence. They have to be able to make their own decisions, paving their way for the new direction in life they’ve decided to take.
- Forcing them to deal with old issues
While it can be productive to discuss the impact of your loved one’s addiction in a controlled, constructive environment, do not discuss it in a harmful way. Avoid constantly reminding them of the problems their addiction caused or criticize them. They are most likely already aware of the actions their addiction led them to. All you need to do is be supportive as they try to heal from it.
- Being distrusting of them
It’s important to let your loved one know that you trust and believe in their recovery process. It can be harmful to them to immediately write them off and not believe anything they say. They are trying to get better, so know despite bumps in the road that they are trying their best.
- Enabling them
Make sure that you know the difference between supporting and enabling. It is possible to step too far into your supportive role and become an enabler. When you are enabling, you are taking on your recovering loved one’s responsibilities, cleaning up their messes, and excusing unacceptable behavior. Instead, support them by being honest and helping them, but not at the expense of your own needs.
How to Support Your Loved One in Recovery
Addiction is a family illness. It affects everyone involved. The family and/or support system needs to be involved in the recovery process to offer help.
Here are some ways to support your loved one:
- Understand addiction and substance abuse
- Set boundaries
To keep a healthy relationship and avoid enabling, be open about your boundaries. Tell your recovered loved one what you are okay with and what you aren’t. Make sure that your physical and mental health is not being compromised in the process.
- Avoid using substances around them
After rehabilitation, those in recovery will lead lives free of alcohol or drugs. It is far more difficult to stay on that track if they have temptations around them. Try not to keep any substances in your home or use any substances around them, as that can be a risk to their sobriety.
- Be honest
Create an open, safe space for both you and your loved one to have honest communication with each other. If you suspect any relapse or substance use, be straightforward and tell them you are concerned, without being confrontational or interrogative. Make sure your loved one feels like they can also be honest with you.
The support of family and friends is going to be crucial to the successful recovery of your loved one. At Neil Kennedy Recovery Center, we emphasize the importance of family participation. We know that anyone can be your support system, and we welcome them to participate in . Our family recovery programs will encourage you to address the impact of the addiction on your family and to heal from it. It will be beneficial for your family, as well as for the patient overcoming addiction who now feels safe and supported in their family. To learn more about how we help families recovering from addiction, request an appointment online today.
At , we are dedicated to helping provide our patients with the resources and support they need to achieve a sustainable recovery. If you or a loved one are currently struggling with addiction, our high-quality, trained specialists can help you achieve your recovery goals. your first appointment with one of our today or call (330) 744- 1181 for more information.