Recovery is an individual journey, but not one a person must trek alone. The support of family members and loved ones can make all the difference in a recovering individual’s motivation to remain sober. If you have a loved one who recently joined a treatment or rehabilitation program, there are things you can do to facilitate long-term recovery. While you must let your loved one forge his or her own path, you can offer support from the sidelines with a few proven tips. Try these seven techniques to support your loved one during addiction recovery.
Voice Your Support
Don’t assume your loved one knows he or she has your support. Recovery is a difficult journey that involves a lot of self-reflection, analysis of past mistakes, and asking forgiveness from people the addiction hurt. Your loved one might not know that you’re willing or able to help or may be too embarrassed or afraid to ask. Make your views known by voicing your support and desire to help during recovery. Make the first move. Say: “I’m here to help in any way I can,” and see what comes next.
Assist With Independence
Learn the difference between support and enablement. Enabling refers to a loved one encouraging a drug or alcohol dependency, usually unintentionally, through acts such as giving the recovering individual money, food, or shelter. Show your loved one you care about his or her recovery but encourage independence. For example, help your loved one get a job instead of just giving him or her money. Visit a support group for friends and family members of addicts for tips on how to avoid enabling.
Plan for the Future
Give your loved one something to look forward to by helping him or her create a plan. This plan can include finding a job, getting housing, taking up hobbies, and building or repairing relationships. Your loved one’s treatment or rehab center should have given him or her ideas and tips for an aftercare plan. If they didn’t, however, create the plan yourself with help from a counselor.
Promote a Healthy Lifestyle
Encourage the sober individual’s physical and mental well-being if possible. Cook healthy meals, encourage exercise, stress the importance of good sleep, schedule doctor appointments, and help with social interactions as much as possible (without becoming codependent or telling the individual what to do). The line between guiding and ordering can be a difficult one to walk but do your best to support without commandeering the person’s recovery journey. All choices must be the individual’s own, but you can promote healthy choices with gentle pushes in the right direction.
Attend Al-Anon Meetings
Meetings with professionals aren’t just for the person struggling with addiction. Al-Anon is an organization that hosts meetings around the world for people just like you – friends and family members of people with addictions. Becoming a member can give you the support and tools you need to better facilitate long-term recovery for your loved one. Al-Anon meetings can help you feel less alone with your own personal struggles and feelings. It can also lend proven tips for helping someone close to you achieve long-term remission.
If you believe your loved one is on the verge of relapse, get help. Urge your loved one to return to treatment or at least speak to a counselor. If this isn’t your loved one’s first relapse, consider a program that specializes in helping chronic relapsers, such as Burning Tree Lodge. Our 90-day treatment program helps people with multiple relapses obtain permanent remission. Contact us today for a confidential discussion.