If you have a loved one who’s recently entered a drug detox program or 2 week drug and alcohol rehab, then odds are that you are cheerleading their efforts to improve their life and beat their addiction. While you undoubtedly want to see your loved on succeed, you might not be sure as to what you can personally do to help them achieve that success.
Being the friend or family member of an addict always presents unique challenges, even when said addict is in recovery. To help you navigate the challenging task of helping your loved one through recovery, here are ten ways that you can be supportive to them during this challenging time.
A lot of times, someone going through recovery doesn’t really need someone to tell them what to do or what to think, but rather just needs someone to listen to them as they air their grievances and vent. If you can listen more than you speak during phone calls, you’ll be helping your loved one a great deal.
2. Keep Track of Dates
Different recovery programs have different dates for visits, trips home and eventual release. You’ll make the life of your recovering loved one a lot easier if you keep track of these dates without needing to be reminded.
3. Don’t Gossip
When you have a loved one in a treatment facility, it can be tempted to want to gossip with mutual friends or shared family members. Avoid this temptation. People in recovery already feel a great deal of shame surrounding their addiction. Suspecting that those in their life are gossiping about them or talking about them behind their backs just makes them feel depressed and anxious. Say only positive things about your loved one in recovery.
4. Write and Send Packages
Even though those in recovery are surrounded by people, they can often feel very isolated and lonely as a result of being away from their friends and family members. Send letters and packages frequently. Be sure to check with the treatment facility so you know what is and is not acceptable in packages.
5. Don’t Bring Up The Past
Remember, recovering addicts are often wracked with guilt and shame over their past behaviors. When you talk to your loved one, don’t bring up the past or mention the things they did while they were using. Instead, keep conversations focused on the future. It’s important that recovering addicts are looking forwards, not backwards.
6. Ask What They Need
As your loved one in treatment nears their release date, be sure to ask them about the things they might need. Those who’ve recently completed recovery really need to feel like there aren’t any barriers between themselves and the plans they’ve made for the future. The more accommodated they feel, the less of an urge they have to relapse.
7. Never Mention Drugs or Alcohol
Plenty of people consume alcohol socially and without consequence. In some states, people even use marijuana legally and recreationally with no repercussions. However, don’t mention any drug or alcohol use whatsoever to your loved one in recovery. Even if your usage was totally innocent, it’s simply too triggering of a conversation topic.
8. Stay Calm
Recovery isn’t always an easy path. Sometimes, you might find that your loved one becomes testy or is easily irritated. When this happens, do your best to stay calm. Even if you feel like you’re being wronged, remember how challenging recovery can be and remain sympathetic, calm and rational.
9. Make Them Feel Needed
A lot of addicts end up in that state due to a feeling of purposelessness, which manifests as a void that they fill with harmful substances. When you communicate with your addicted loved one, remind them that they are needed, missed and loved.
10. Take Care Of Your Own Mental Health
Having a loved one in recovery can be incredibly emotionally taxing. This is why it’s crucial that you make the effort to take care of your own mental health.
Remember, recovery is difficult and it doesn’t happen overnight. Even when an addict leaves rehabilitation, the threat of a relapse is always looming. This is why it’s so essential that the addict has a great support system to help them stay on their recovery path. If you use these methods and techniques, you can ensure that your loved one has better odds of staying on track and improving their life for the better.
Image courtesy of [Sura Nualpradid] at FreeDigitalPhotos.net