7 Great Ways to Support a Loved One in Recovery
Witnessing someone you love struggle with addiction is hard.
It can be confusing for everyone involved and cause you to question why they are doing this to themselves and your family. These questions and fears are all perfectly normal. No one wants to see someone they love hurt themselves.
So, it’s tough but necessary to put these feelings aside and help your loved one find drug rehab treatment and get better.
Remember that communication is key. It will be beneficial to develop healthy and empathetic communication styles while your loved one is in recovery. This makes it that much easier to openly discuss the negative and positive emotions they may be feeling during this time. Since you have already established healthy communication techniques, they should feel comfortable coming to you if something is bothering them.
Instead of providing sympathy to your loved one, keep empathy in mind. Empathy will allow you to walk in their shoes and understand why they are feeling a certain way.
#2. Pour Into Your Own Cup
You have likely heard the saying that to fill someone else's cup, yours need to be full first. In other words, you can't pour out of an empty cup. This concept is very important when supporting a loved one in recovery. Substance use disorder (SUD) affects not only the person using substances but also the family members and friends close to them.
By prioritizing your own needs and self-care, you will be better able to support your loved one during treatment and recovery. It is very easy to put the needs of your loved one before your own. However, this can cause burnout, which won't help you or your loved one when push comes to shove.
Here are some self-care examples to keep your cup full so you can support your loved one:
Join group therapy or reach out to a drug rehab to find more resources
Prioritize weekly activities that you enjoy like yoga or another form of movement, reading a book, trying new foods, or listening to music
Stay connected with friends or family members, as having someone else to talk to during this time can be extremely helpful
#3. Continue to Get Educated
By continuing to educate yourself, you will have more resources and tools to support your loved one. SUD and mental health disorders are chronic illnesses just as arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease are. Addiction and mental disorders are just diseases of the brain rather than the body.
Educating yourself on effective treatment options, new substances, and treatment centers can help you and your loved one. This isn't the time to nag or lecture your loved one, which could cause resentment and communication issues to build up with your loved one. Instead, this is a time for empathy, listening, and actively helping.
#4. Show You Care by Actively Listening
Sometimes you may not agree with your loved one, but it's important to show them you are actively listening. Doing so shows them that you care and want to see them succeed. Living in recovery can feel isolating. Knowing they have you there for them as support means the world to a loved one in recovery.
You can show active listening by maintaining eye contact, responding to what they say, and staying engaged in the conversation.
#5. Reduce Their Stress
Stress is one of the main causes of relapse, and family stress can be the biggest culprit of all. It is important to stay away from unnecessary arguments during recovery. The less stress on your loved one, the better.
Some examples of life stressors include:
Starting a new job
Illness either in that person or a loved one
Some ways you can ensure that you mitigate stress for the whole family is through prioritizing healthy and fun activities with your loved one.
#6. Help Your Loved One Find New Coping Skills
This point goes hand-in-hand with the above; however, certain life stressors are almost unavoidable. In the past, your loved one likely coped with stress through drugs or alcohol. They must find a healthier way to manage everyday stressors.
Healthy ways to cope may look like:
Bonding with a pet
Picking up a new hobby
Focusing on your nutrition and eating balanced meals
Exercises such as walking, lifting weights, or yoga
Getting enough sleep
#7. Understand the Signs of Relapse
According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA), between 40 to 60% of people struggling with an addiction will relapse. It can help to understand the early signs of relapse so you can create a plan if your loved one appears to be heading there. You can look out for warning signs from your loved ones by keeping an eye on them.
Signs of relapse include:
Hanging out with people or in places from their past life
Sudden changes in behavior
Avoiding family members or friends when they try and help them
The Edge Treatment Center Will Help You Support Your Loved One During Addiction Treatment
Helping someone you love during recovery can be very beneficial if done properly. It is important to take care of yourself while helping the ones you love.
At The Edge Treatment Center, we believe in the power of good relationships and have many resources for family members and friends. We offer group therapy, education, and consistent contact throughout treatment.
Substance use disorder affects everyone close to the client, and it often causes a strain on relationships. If you or a loved one is struggling, contact The Edge Treatment Center today.