If you are noticing something weird and getting worried about the behaviour, actions, or reactions of your family member and if they are taking everything, such as work, relationships, social functioning, finances, family, health, legal issues, and self-esteem, a little too lightly, you are not overreacting. Instead, it means that your loved one genuinely has a problem, which might be an addiction to drugs or alcohol.
To ensure that what you think might be right, discuss the issue with your loved one, and if they seem unwilling to talk or ignore you, it might be a strong indicator that a problem exists.
Continuing substance use in spite of the fact that such impulsive behaviour is causing a problem is a clear-cut sign of addiction. And whenever you notice that in your loved one, it is time for an addiction intervention.
While addiction recovery is best addressed at addiction treatment centres or rehabs, providing positive support as they begin recovery is the best thing you can do for them. Here are a few tips in this article you can use to help your family member in addiction recovery.
1. Check in on them and listen actively
Most people experience feelings of isolation and loneliness; therefore, it is crucial to understand the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your loved ones. Check them once a day or weekly to see how they are doing and feeling. Just like you, every other individual also wants to be heard or listened to, and you should engage with them, especially when they share something with you. In fact, only listening doesn’t help; you need to paraphrase them, demonstrate concern, and ensure them that you are listening. Even if you disagree with their thoughts, affirm their feelings.
2. Avoid Unnecessary Arguments
People with addiction always stay on the verge of relapse. And family stress contributes to that the most. Unnecessary arguments, fights, and bad moods in the family not only become the reason for relapse but can also exacerbate underlying mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety. Therefore, always develop healthy communication with your loved ones to facilitate constructive support. Spending meaningful and positive time together doing an activity or going on a vacation also helps strengthen the bond. Nevertheless, stay away from unneeded or unwanted topics of discussion.
3. Don’t be Judgmental Around Them
People undergoing addiction recovery deal with multiple psychological and physical health issues. And it is impossible to find out how much shame or guilt they had dealt with in the past. You never know; maybe they still hold onto negative feelings and self-conscious thoughts. Therefore, you being judgmental is the last thing they want. So instead of judging your loved ones, accept them, love them, and appreciate them for who they are and how long they have come.
4. Practice Patience
Addiction recovery is much more than abstinence from substances; it is about healing and growth, which eventually takes time. If you know someone in recovery, you might be aware of their unhealthy behaviours and poor decision-making skills and understand how relapses or other setbacks are bound to happen because nobody changes overnight. However, you must keep patience while showing them love, concern, and support.
5. Encourage Healthy Habits
You cannot pull someone out if you are drowning in the river too. Similarly, you have to follow a healthy routine to convince your loved ones to do the same. Whether it is proper sleep hygiene, open communication, eating healthy meals, exercising, or abstaining from substances like drugs and alcohol, show your support to your loved ones by living a healthy lifestyle. It will not only help your family member to maintain a routine or improve their mental, physical, and spiritual health, but it will also do wonders for you. In addition, doing some of the activities together can also be a source of bonding and healing between you and your loved one in addiction recovery.
6. Educate Yourself on Addiction and Recovery
Drug or alcohol addiction is a mental illness or disease that hijacks the brain’s reward system and disrupts its chemistry. Under the influence of substances, the brain loses its ability to control impulses and creates neural-embedded associations and memories with the individual’s addictive behaviour. As a result, individuals feel triggered even by minor things, which generally may not even enter the conscious mind.
Also, relapse rates are high when it comes to addiction. Hence, you should not be fooled into thinking that an individual has recovered from their addiction just because they have completed their duration in rehab. Instead, it is a lifelong process.
It would help if you learned about the addiction and the signs of relapse, including the triggering points and what exactly put people under the influence of substances.
7. Reduce Environmental Triggers
For starters, abstain from keeping alcohol or drugs at home and using them yourself. If you do like alcohol sometimes, ensure that you do not drink in the presence of your loved ones in recovery. In addition, keep your prescription medications locked and out of sight. You can also help your family avoid social situations that may have a risk of relapse and support them by attending parties or gatherings to help keep them accountable.
8. Set Healthy Boundaries
As a result of active addiction, poor boundaries are often formed and may continue into addiction recovery. Hence, it is essential for all individuals to set healthy boundaries, whether it is by eliminating unhealthy behaviours, co-dependency, or other such things. For example, avoiding social gatherings where alcohol is served or saying no to the glass of wine your friend is offering you will help you maintain long-term sobriety.
Though addiction intervention may seem daunting at first to perform, it will help you keep your loved one on track. If an individual attends an addiction treatment centre or rehab, it doesn’t mean they have fully recovered. Instead, addiction recovery is a life-long process, and individuals need their family members’ support, care, and love to achieve sobriety. If you are unsure about where to start, use the tips mentioned above to help your family member on the road to recovery.