How to Support a Loved One in Addiction
Having a loved one who is battling addiction is hard, not only for them but for you and many others as well. Addiction treatment is a long road full of hard work, and with a strong support system, it can help make all the difference. However, the right kind of support is essential, not only for your loved ones but for you as well. Here are some tips to help you make the right steps to support your loved one during their recovery process.
Learn About the Addiction Your Loved One is Battling
Often times people think they know about addiction, but through stigmas and stereotypes, people are often misinformed. Plus, not all addictions are created equal. Different addictions may require different addiction treatment, and because each person is different, those treatment options may vary. Speaking with the recovery center is a good way to begin educating yourself about the disease your loved one has, and what may be causing it. This can give you a better perspective of what they’re going through so you can better help them recover.
Do Not Enable Your Loved One
It is so hard to watch someone we care about struggle, especially with something as scary as addiction. When your child has the flu, you want to do whatever you can to make them feel better. While addiction is a disease, it is not one that is curable. It is manageable and recovery is a life-long process. If you enable your loved one’s addiction, providing them with the drug of choice, or taking away their accountability, it may set them back during the treatment process. Healing and learning to cope in other ways will be a struggle at first, but it is a struggle that your loved one will hopefully be stronger for in the end.
Keep Realistic Expectations During Treatment
As much as we all wish that addiction recovery happened overnight, it simply doesn’t work that way. Your loved one will need to learn strategies on how to cope with stressors in everyday life. They will have a long battle against the cravings and desire to use again. When it comes to addiction treatment, it’s a marathon, not a sprint. Expecting immediate results will not only disappoint you but may disappoint your loved one if they become aware of your reaction. Your support will be much stronger and noticeable when you have realistic expectations.
Remember to Take Care of Yourself
When you’re caring for a loved one, whether during addiction treatment or another long-term illness, it becomes easy to focus on them so much, you forget about yourself. When you neglect yourself, you may become overtired, strained, and frustrated with day to day life, let alone helping your loved one during treatment. This could affect your positive support network, even though you don’t mean for it to. One of the best things you can do to support a loved one in addiction is to remember to take care of yourself. Remember to focus on your job, get a good night’s sleep, and take the steps to keep your own life in order. This way, you’re able to continue providing the strength your loved one needs during such a hard time.
Seek Counseling For Yourself
While your loved one is in addiction treatment, they’ll be getting the best care possible. But supporting an addict during treatment is hard. Not just for them, but for you as well. It can take a toll on your mental health. Seeing a counselor will help you process your own emotional state, so you can deal with it in a healthy and productive way. Whether this is a professional counselor or trusted friend, having someone you can openly speak to about the situation will not only help you provide the best support possible but also help you support yourself.
Addiction treatment is not easy for any person involved. You want to support your loved one the best way you can. It can be frustrating, not only for the addict but for you as well. Making a plan and following these tips may help you support your loved one better–and make sure you remember to take care of yourself as well.