What is the Best Way to Help a Recovering Addict or Alcoholic?
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What is the Best Way to Help a Recovering Addict or Alcoholic?
You may be wondering how to help a recovering addict get or stay clean.
The best way to help a person recovering from addiction is to commit to learning about the disease of addiction and creating a loving, patient, and supportive environment. The spiral of addiction to drugs or alcohol often significantly damages relationships. By the time you enter rehab or become sober, relationships can be frayed, and you have developed unhealthy coping mechanisms.
Once a commitment to sobriety is reached, many believe everything is solved; however, recovery is a lifelong process. Most people who go to treatment return home with the intention of remaining abstinent from alcohol and all addictive drugs. Family members may unintentionally put newfound sobriety at risk without adequate education and commitment to changing family culture.
Many may wonder how to help a recovering addict.
Creating a supportive relationship may mean getting other family members into support groups or counseling and the ones struggling with addictions or alcoholism. Counseling and 12-step support groups work to recover loved ones and relationships, not just the ones struggling with addiction.
Someone recovering from addiction is building an entirely new life, and many, if not most, things change. This includes relationships. As the saying goes, change people, places, and things.
In order to help someone in recovery, you must be ready for a great deal of change. Although this may be frightening, change is necessary to create a new life free of addiction. Treatment centers understand that addiction is best treated with social support, leading clients to attend 12 Step or other support groups upon returning home from treatment.
Typically, they have been exposed to and educated about these groups and their programs while in treatment. It is vitally important to support attendance and service to a 12-step program. Sometimes the person in recovery may attend more than one meeting a day, sometimes every day.
Whatever it takes to build new coping mechanisms, a new circle of healthy friends, and a positive outlook on early sobriety is the right choice. You may want to consider attending your own 12-step group to become educated about the recovery process and learn about your process of independent recovery from the cycle of addiction.
Some support groups you may hear about are Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous. Al-Anon is the support group created just for family members of addicts.
You can find more information about Al-Anon here: https://al-anon.org/contact-us/.
How to Help a Recovering Addict
Addiction is known as a family disease. One family member cannot live with and be emotionally connected to someone struggling with addiction without being impacted by the disease they suffer.
Family members struggle with this concept sometimes, and it is completely natural to need some help with insight on the process when a partner or loved one enters treatment and recovery. For more information on alcoholism, click here.
Sometimes there is an identifiable trigger that may have started drug use; other times, it can seem to be a mystery. Determining triggers and unhealthy coping mechanisms are tools to avoid relapse.
Managing stress, avoiding triggers, and learning alternate coping mechanisms are early tools for a successful recovery. Early recovery involves being prepared for cravings and triggers. Knowing what to do when these occur can increase the odds of remaining sober.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and seek family education and therapy to support your loved one. Family members often wonder how they can best support their loved one in treatment and when they return home from treatment.
We can help guide you and your family on the most effective methods to support your loved one in recovery.
How to Support a Recovering Alcoholic
Creating a supportive and safe environment for a newly sober family member or friend is critical for their success and healing.
- Creating an alcohol-free home is an early and essential first step. This includes traditional alcoholic drinks and alcohol-free mouthwash and decreasing or limiting any substances that contain alcohol, including flavorings or extracts.
- Choosing social events that are not centered around alcohol or drug use is another important lifestyle change to assist in long-term recovery.
- Don’t monitor every moment. Many partners make the early mistake of hovering and watching their newly clean and sober family members for any slip-ups. This added pressure of coping with their new life can feel suffocating and demoralizing.
- Ignoring the issue and returning to old habits and family roles are equally as dangerous. Many families have developed silent agreements and roles that each member plays to keep the peace. Any disruption to those roles can feel frightening, and there can be a desire to return everyone to their place to feel “normal.” It is this “normalcy” that can at times have developed the early seeds of addiction.
- Put yourself into recovery for friends and family members of addicts. Al-Anon and Nar a Non are both valuable organizations for friends and family members. Co-dependency can exist without even recognizing it. This dynamic does not allow them the dignity of their own life and consequences.
- Develop new hobbies and activities to do together that do not involve alcohol.
- Support their efforts to attend 12-step meetings as often as is needed.
Awareness of old habits and unhealthy limitations within families and relationships can open the doors to new ways of living and increased joy in relationships.
Mental Illness and Recovery
Having a secondary diagnosis is common in alcoholism and other addictions. Feelings of depression may be a trigger to begin drinking. Using drugs or alcohol can be a crutch that develops to avoid getting help for the primary issue at hand.
Studies have shown that drinking alcohol doesn’t necessarily cause mental illness; however, it can hide underlying mental health issues. The National Alliance on Mental Health has estimated that 30% of all alcoholic individuals also have an underlying mental health diagnosis.
Both issues, if left untreated, can worsen the other. This can make reaching out for treatment challenging. Choosing a skilled facility that is skilled in untangling the layered issues is key to the successful treatment of both. Many times, if the mental health issue is addressed, the chances for successful recovery is improved.
Recovery from addiction may also involve concurrent treatment for an underlying mental illness. Treatment and recovery from both are equally important to long term sobriety. At Resurgence Behavioral Health, we work with you to diagnose any additional mental illnesses to support your recovery to the highest extent possible.
An untreated mental health issue can threaten sobriety and make recovery more difficult.
If you are interested in receiving help but are hesitant because of cost, reach out to us for additional information. We research all payment options at no cost to you. We offer free insurance verification and can assist you in navigating the payment terms and conditions.
Recovery is the best investment you can make.
How to Get Help
Resurgence Behavioral Health is available to answer questions and guide you during this unfamiliar time.
We help families start on the recovery journey and give you the tools for long term success. Choosing to accept help is the first step to increased joy in your life.
For more information, contact us today.
Help is available.