If you and your family are experiencing a loved one battle addiction, it can result in many painful emotions. You feel frustration, hopelessness, and loss. You feel helpless while seeing your loved one suffering from the effects of addiction.
The good thing is that you and your family can do something about it and restore your relationship as a whole. Each member of your family can play a major role in the treatment and recovery of your loved one.
Healthy boundaries can help you, your loved one suffering from addiction, and your family recover from addiction. You can all assume healthy behaviors and roles to encourage treatment and support recovery. This can include the following:
- Being a firm caregiver who will hold your loved one accountable for their behavior
- Encouraging positive choices and creating rewards for it
- Attending support groups
Aside from fostering healthy roles, you and your family need to better understand what substance abuse disorder is. You need to know what initial steps to take that will lead to treatment. You should know how to take care of someone going through addiction. This will all help you and your family provide the love and support that your loved one needs in this trying time. Below are five tips that you can use as a guide to achieving all of this.
Learn, Educate, and Advocate
People who are addicted to alcohol and illegal drugs suffer from substance use disorder (SUD). The inability to control alcohol and drug use leads to malfunctioning of the brain and erratic behavior, causing the disease. Because of this, an addicted person will continue using drugs and drinking alcohol despite suffering from its harmful effects.
The risk of addiction varies depending on the drug used. However, some drugs cause addiction faster than others. But do you know that children of people with SUD have a higher risk of getting the disease later in life? Unfortunately, these children may inherit genes that cause their brains and bodies to respond differently to drugs and alcohol than other children without addicted family members.
Knowing this can help families stop blaming each other. Instead of believing that your loved one’s addiction was caused by stubbornness and weakness, it helps to understand how it is actually created by changes in the brain. You and your family will be able to let go of your anger and resentment over your loved one’s addiction just by understanding that it’s not always a choice to become addicted. That knowledge can help boost your family’s sense of hope that your loved one can be treated.
As you can see, misinformation about addiction can alienate people suffering from SUD. Advocating on behalf of them is empowering for them and your family. It can encourage them and their family to seek the help they all need.
Always take the time to ask your loved one about their life. It’s reassuring to know when somebody cares. Be involved in their lives. One of the best ways to do this is to eat a meal with the whole family, even if it’s just once a day. Or, you can do activities that your loved one enjoys doing or participating in.
Maintain Healthy Habits
Encourage your loved one to maintain healthy habits through regular exercise and sleep. Get the whole family involved. Jog early in the morning, or go for a quick swim. Choose exercises that you can do as a family. This will help all of you relieve stress and reduce the risk of depression.
In the evening, let your loved one maintain regular sleeping habits. A well-rested mind can help get rid of destructive addictive behaviors.
Go to Therapy — as a Family and as an Individual
Different forms of therapy can be a great form of addiction therapy for your loved one. But you need it as a family, too.
Family therapy helps breaks down the negative feelings you and your family have about what’s happening to your family. It allows all of you to speak and be heard. But while this can help, it’s also important to get a separate therapy session for each of you. Through these sessions, you can learn how to better deal with your family’s situation as an individual.
When your loved one is finally done with treatment, changes will not occur immediately. It will take time. Learn from your therapy how to deal with recovery and encourage your loved one to move forward. If a relapse happens, don’t play the blame game. It’s nobody’s fault.
Instead, manage your expectations. You will all heal in time. For now, you can actively support and enjoy each other’s company. It may not be perfect, but you can work together towards recovery.