Supporting Those in Recovery
Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey of growth and development.
Detoxification and treatment are only the first steps.
Detox alone is only the first step that can help your loved one stay sober and clean..
Recovery is a life long process.
Recovery is typically a formal treatment followed by continued support from a sponsor, counselor, physician, family members, support groups and clean and sober friends.
To maintain lifelong abstinence, your loved one must develop new problem-solving skills for stressful situations, and must be prepared to work hard on personal growth and spirituality, and dealing with any emotional or physiological triggers that could lead back to old ways of coping.
With over 22 million people in recovery, chances are high that just about every one of us has friends or loved ones who fall into this category.
Whether the addicted person has been clean and sober for years, months, or days, days it is extremely important to remember that they are living with a chronic disease that will require lifelong support from their loved ones, and lifelong dedication from themselves .
Below are ideas of how you can help provide support,
especially during the crucial period of early recovery.
What is Recovery?
Learn as much as you can about recovery from substance use disorders
Understanding the emotional, physical, and behavioral components of the healing process is imperative to providing a supportive environment. For example, when a loved one stops putting drugs into his body, it’s easy to assume that the hard part is over. Especially when that person starts to “look well.” But a brain affected by substance use needs a lot of time to heal and the amount of time may be much longer than you would think. Research tells us that the process can take up to two years. Having a good understanding of what a loved one is going through will help you to recognize the challenges your loved one is going through as well as celebrating the milestones that are a part of the recovery process.
Unfortunately, there is no quick fix for someone struggling with a substance use disorder.
Your loved one will most likely need to be in varying levels of treatment for an extended period of time. Be aware that it is not uncommon for people to stop any course of treatment once their symptoms improve. This is very unfortunate because the brain has not recovered. Someone struggling with drug abuse may be inclined to stop participating in out-patient care when they start feeling better. They feel like they are back in control. It is imperative to stay in daily or weekly contact and with your loved one’s treatment team. This is a way you can help them stay on a successful course of treatment, which results in better treatment outcomes.
It is important to have the understanding that a relapse or "use episode" is not unusual for individuals with substance use disorders (SUD). This can be disappointing, but this is an example of why being involved and connected with the treatment team can mean earlier detection and intervention, which many times is the difference between one-time use and months or years of continued use.
Ongoing Recovery Support
Remember, you can help your loved one by
something as simple as providing an ear to listen when they’re in need. Words of encouragement can go a long way in someone’s recovery. Remind them that you love them and are here any time of day. Staying positive will keep them focused on fighting their addiction.
your loved one's life may begin a different path.
Since addiction is a chronic disease, your loved ones' life will require lifelong changes.
These changes may put your loved one on a path that you did not expect. This may mean quitting a job that is too demanding and stressful, changing plans for school, and making new friends. It may not be easy for you to agree with these changes. For example, you may feel uneasy with the new friendships developed in support groups. Letting go of the goals and maybe even lifelong dreams your loved one aspired to before addiction snuck into your lives and what you thought was going to be, may be things of the past. Supporting a new lifestyle is quite often frightening. Just remember, your support during recovery will help your loved one experience and achieve goals and dreams that neither your loved one nor you thought possible since addiction entered your lives. Bigger and better dreams are possible!
never give up on them
There will be good times and challenging times during the recovery process. Throughout every step, never, ever give up on your loved one. If they should fall, be there to pick them up. Let them know you believe in them and continue to encourage them to try again if they fall. That’s what family and friends are for.
Take care of yourself
Living with someone who is abusing drugs is exhausting and can be very traumatic. What people may not realize is that living with someone in early recovery can be equally exhausting in a different way.
While caring for and supporting a loved one with substance use disorder, it is very common for family members to put their own feelings and needs aside. Attending support groups, taking some time for yourself and other family members and going to individual or family counseling, can lead to a healthier, happier environment for all.