The disease of addiction is an encompassing affliction that causes a profound transformation. When someone becomes an addict, he or she experiences a dramatic change in personality, a decline in overall physical health, and will quickly and decidedly sacrifice careers, financial independence, and even relationships in order to sustain his or her substance abuse. For the family members, friends, and other loved ones of addicts, it can be exceedingly difficult to have a front-row seat for such an intimate, internal struggle, watching helplessly as the individual continues to deteriorate. In fact, addiction is often called the family disease due to the effects that it has not only on the addict, but on his or her loved ones as well.
When an addicted loved one finally chooses to begin the recovery process, it can be difficult trying to figure out how best to encourage and support his or her rehabilitation without hindering progress in some way. Recovery is a very intense journey that takes continuous effort and conviction and the majority of individuals will never know what it’s like to combat an addiction firsthand, which can cause a different kind of helplessness as well as uncertainty. As such, the following is the best advice for spouses, parents, children, siblings, and friends who want to be supportive and encouraging to a loved one who is in an intensive outpatient program for addiction.
Learn About Addiction & Recovery
Having an addicted loved one can inspire many different and oftentimes conflicting emotions. Additionally, despite being familiar with the concept of addiction as disease, it’s common for individuals to take a loved one’s addiction personally, feeling like their trust has been betrayed or as though alcohol or drugs has become more important than the relationship. There are many other misconceptions and inaccurate perceptions that put relationships under further duress as well, making it just as important for those in an addict’s support network to learn about addiction as it is for the actual addiction. In learning more about addiction, individuals often gain a more thorough or enlightened understanding of what it’s like to be an addict. In other words, learning about addiction and the recovery process leads to understanding and empathy, which is an essential part of supporting an addict in an intensive outpatient program through the addiction recovery process.
Be Encouraging & Acknowledge Progress
Although many of us may not realize it or be willing to admit it, we all want praise for our hard work. When a child draws a picture for a parent, he or she is heartbroken if the drawing isn’t treated as a work of art and the gesture isn’t considered a privilege. Recovery from addiction is a very intensive, long-term journey that never completely ends. It’s true that sobriety gets somewhat easier with time, but lasting recovery requires a level of ongoing maintenance in order to ensure success. As such, it’s important for the family members and friends of a loved one in intensive outpatient treatment to acknowledge the individual’s triumphs. This includes being open and honest about the recovery process. For instance, it might be scary to hear a loved one admit to having cravings for alcohol or drugs, but it’s importance to be receptive, empathetic, and encouraging in such instances because being open with someone about cravings is much like inviting the person to be involved in the recovery process. There may be many components to the recovery process that make one uncomfortable, but it’s important to make the loved one in recovery feel as though their progress isn’t going unnoticed and that they are doing a great job. Therefore, acknowledge and encourage additional progress in recovery.
Ensure a Safe Environment & Minimal Stress
In order for an individual to successfully complete an intensive outpatient program, he or she must have a safe, stable, drug-free home environment. Although it’s an addict’s responsibility to objectively decide whether outpatient recovery is a viable option, the family and friends of an addict in intensive outpatient treatment can certainly help reinforce the safety of the home environment. For instance, keeping things like alcohol or other substances out of the home will minimize temptation to relapse. If there are any other known relapse triggers, family and friends can help to ensure that they do not tempt an individual or derail his or her progress. Additionally, ensuring that the home environment is relatively stress-free will be very helpful to the addict’s recovery process, especially since the addict returns home after treatment each day. Having some quiet, relaxing time to reflect on each day’s treatment is a valuable asset and is one of the many factors that make forms of inpatient and residential treatment so effective. In short, the family and friends of a recovering addict should try to make the home environment as peaceful and conducive to healing as possible.
Find All the Recovery Resources You Could Need with Recovery Hub
While there are many ways that individuals can assist an individual in his or her recovery, the above tips are a great place to start. If you or someone you love is suffering from chemical dependency and would benefit from learning more about the recovery process, call Recovery Hub 1-888-220-4352. With just one phone call and a free assessment with one of our recovery specialists, you or your loved one can be on the way to a life of happiness, health, and fulfillment. Don’t become another casualty of addiction; call us today.