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Why Family Support Is Essential in Addiction Recovery

June 06, 2019
family support

You may have heard the phrase, “Addiction is a family disease.” This adage has become widespread not only because addiction affects every member of the family, but also because families play a significant role in addiction and a lifetime of recovery. Your support and understanding can be critical to helping someone you care about focus on regaining their health and happiness.

If you are living with a person in recovery, it will also require a commitment on your end – particularly in the earliest stages. Here are four ways you can support a family member on their journey toward physical, mental and spiritual stability.

1. Accept Addiction Treatment Isn’t a “Quick-Fix” Solution

Addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, and as such, there’s no cure. Expecting someone to come home from a rehab program fully healed from addiction is unrealistic, and a potential setup for relapse. It’s vital for you to understand that while your loved one may have successfully completed a comprehensive inpatient and outpatient treatment program, the consequences of their addiction may continue to unfold after they return home.

As a result of addiction, you and your loved one may face ongoing challenges, including:

  • Getting out of debt or repairing bad credit
  • Finding and keeping steady employment
  • Health issues
  • Rebuilding broken relationships and trust

2. Stay Encouraging and Involved

When your loved one returns home from rehab, your family might need to make several major lifestyle changes. That will usually require all family members to abstain from using drugs or alcohol at home – especially during a loved one’s early recovery. Maintaining this healthy, sober home environment reduces the chances that your family member will relapse back into drinking or using.

The first stages of recovery can be an isolating time, but the support and understanding of close friends and family can provide a bedrock for continued success in sobriety. For recovery to last a lifetime, the entire family system must commit to it.

3. Don’t Neglect Self-Care

Life around a person with an active addiction can be taxing and exhausting. Your loved one isn’t the only one who needs help – you do, too. Make time to take care of your needs. Find healthy activities like participating in a support group or individual therapy. Exercising and keeping a journal can also be excellent outlets to help you manage the physical and emotional anxiety you’ve been under during the addiction and early recovery period.

4. Cut Down on Stressors

Stress is a contributing factor in drug and alcohol misuse, as well as relapse. Your recovering loved one may be more vulnerable to stress as part of their healing process. You should learn to recognize stressful situations that can be triggering for someone you care about:

  • Problems at work or school
  • Financial difficulties
  • Relationship challenges
  • Being in environments where others are drinking or using drugs

Understanding these hurdles and knowing how to help your loved one handle them can make a world of difference. Guide your family member toward healthy coping mechanisms such as exercising, journaling, yoga, meditating or even speaking with a therapist.

Helping Your Loved One With Life’s Challenges

Knowing what to expect when living with a person in recovery – especially early recovery – is essential to helping yourself and your loved one. It’s true addiction is a family disease, but it’s equally true to say recovery is a family process.

If someone you love is out of control with their drug use or drinking, a professionally managed intervention can help your family convince them to seek a solution. If you’d like to learn more about our intervention services or our nationally recognized team, contact us today.

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