Dont: Shame Or Criticize
Human nature sometimes forces us to shift the blame because its easier to understand a problem if we know its source. But the cause of addictions isnt so black and white, so theres never really just one thing to blame. Most importantly, the person with the addiction is not at fault for the disease.
Avoid implying or outright stating that your loved one is to blame for their addiction. Shaming or criticizing a family member who is struggling with an Alcohol Addiction or an Opioid Addiction is often counterproductive to their Recovery. While tough love may have a small part in helping an alcoholic spouse, this is not the place for it.
Part of practicing compassion for your loved one involves understanding that shaming your loved one may do them more harm than good. Instead, talk with positivity and encouragement, offering the idea of a future of successful long-term Recovery. Provide verbal and physical encouragement rather than lectures or nagging.
Schedule Private Therapy Sessions
While lifestyle alterations can be a big help for families in crisis, addictions can cause deep wounds that often benefit from seeking professional help. Research has found that families of addicted people experience increased levels of depression and anxiety. Caregivers can feel worn out from everything theyre asked to do for their addicted family member, and they may not have access to healthy coping skills that could help themselves. Siblings or children can feel forgotten or feel like they have to do better to make up for the addicted person, leading to self-esteem issues.
Theres no judgment or blame here a private therapy session is a safe place for stressed family members to talk openly and work through issues.
Private sessions typically follow a skills-based format, in which caregivers learn more about how to deal with destructive thoughts and habits developed during years of addictive behavior. They might learn to meditate to handle stress or they might work on assertiveness skills. They might do group work involving anger management, or they might learn how to let go of codependent behaviors so they wont feel responsible for the poor choices of others.
How To Help Someone Recovering From Addiction
- When you want to help someone recovering from addiction, the first question you need to answer is not how you can help but if you can help.
- If you are in a position to help someone recovering from addiction, realize that helping may not always feel like helping.
- When someone is recovering from addiction, there is never a good time to get sober, so you have to be patient and persistent when providing support.
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Learn As Much As Possible About Addiction
Education can help families escape the blame game. Rather than believing that the persons addiction stems from weakness, willfulness or stubbornness, it might be helpful to understand how it actually stems from changes within the brain. Understanding that addiction is not a choice might help you let go of anger and resentment you may be feeling about your loved ones addiction.
There are many online resources that can help families learn about addiction. Most bookstores also offer a wide selection of books about the chemistry of addiction and the science behind addiction treatment.
Additionally, every day, research teams are conducting in-depth studies about drugs. Theyre learning more about how substances interact with the cells inside the brain, and theyre using that knowledge to develop new treatments that might one day either treat or prevent addictions.
Thats the sort of knowledge that can help boost a familys sense of hope. With each advancement, you can feel more confident that the addiction can be treated and conquered.
Take Care Of Yourself
Although you may see this as selfish, its incredibly important that youre able to be there for others and make the best decisions possible. Make sure your own needs are met by getting enough sleep, exercising and eating well. Dont be afraid to go to therapy to get help if you find yourself struggling due to your loved ones drug addiction.
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Mindfulness As A Spiritual Practice
Mindfulness is a spiritual practice that involves purposely paying attention to the present moment. This means that the individual is completely focused on what they are doing now and not thinking about the past or worrying about the future. When the person is doing something they really enjoy, they will be naturally mindful. The problem is that for the rest of the time, people can be lost in their heads. It is not necessary to sit in a certain position or learn any mantras to be mindful. The individual can be mindful no matter what they’re doing so long as they remember to focus on what is there right now. By doing this, the individual will be able to turn almost any activity into a spiritual one.
If you believe that spirituality is a subjective experience involving meaning-making and a connection with something greater, then indeed, a dedicated mindfulness practice often becomes a spiritual practice. From this point of view, one can ascribe to any particular religious traditionor to none at all, and enjoy a deep spiritual life.
Ways To Help A Recovering Alcoholic
Educate Yourself On Addiction And Recovery
Addiction and alcoholism are very complex, and recovery is one of the greatest challenges of most individuals lives. The best way a loved one can help an addict is to educate themselves on the many aspects of addiction and recovery, such as potential triggers, health issues, enablement, the recovery process, and the psychological changes that addiction causes. Loved ones will find it much easier to relate to and assist a recovering addict if they understand addiction, and they will also be much better equipped to help prevent relapse.
Understand And Prepare For Extended Problems
Addiction creates many lasting problems, both for addicts and their loved ones. While sobriety will improve all of them, many will still be present during recovery. Financial problems are common, especially as the recovering addict tries to rebuild their career and pay off addiction related debts such as DUI expenses. Health problems caused by addiction are some of the most serious, and some, such as HIV, are permanent. Relationship problems can be the most painful it can take years to rebuild trust, and in some cases, it just isnt possible. Additionally, relapse is always a possibility, even after many years. Understanding and preparing for these problems will make it easier to deal with them and lessen their impact.
Dont Hold Unreasonable Expectations
Make Changes To Support Sobriety
Dont Go So Far That Youre Unfair To Yourself
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Find An Approach That Works
There are a number of different treatment options that can be effective, so it is important to consider the options. Think about which approach might be best suited to you and your loved one’s needs and goals.
Depending on the nature of the addiction, treatment might involve psychotherapy, medication, support groups, or a combination of all of these. A few options include:
Other important factors that can affect a person’s recovery include family involvement and other social supports. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration suggests that family therapy is an important part of an effective recovery plan.
Addiction Help For Your Wife/mom
If youre in the Denver, Colorado and surrounding area, there is help for the loved one in your life. At Womens Recovery, we have a facility in Denver as well as Dillon, Colorado. It is a gender specific outpatient program. Our all female staff is highly knowledgeable and offers compassion from the moment your wife or mom walks through our doors. Contact us to find out how we can help you with your loved one.Living with an addicted mom or wife is life altering and can cause many negative outcomes. Its important to understand the disease and make sure you dont become a part of the problem. There is help for your wife or mom as well as support for the family. You dont have to try to do this alone. There are experienced addiction experts out there that can give her the right type of treatment. Wed love to hear from you so if you have anything to share, please leave a comment.
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A Sober Support Network
In your using days, you likely had a circle of using buddies, those kids you met before or after school, on weekends or at social events, to drink or to get high. In recovery, your social circle changes significantly. Rather than surrounding yourself with those who encourage your drug use, you must stay close to those who encourage your sobriety and support your substance-free lifestyle. These people will be positive, uplifting, and available during your times of need. They will understand when you say no to a party where there might be alcohol. They will understand when you are having a bad day.
You may meet these people in your addiction treatment program, sober housing, a sober sports league, therapy, or your 12-step meetings. They will become your sober network.
A strong, sober support network is one of the most essential addiction recovery tools you can have. By supporting your values, your goals, and your choices to live sober, this network of friends will also be the ones to help you transition confidently into the world once again. So even when temptations arise after drug treatment, you will have a sober friend to call to help you past them. Recovery is not a journey you should ever have to walk alone.
Signs That Your Mom/wife Is An Alcoholic
Perhaps you dont know if your mom is an alcoholic. However, if youre having concerns that she drinks too much, chances are, youre right. Here are some of the tell tale signs your mom is an alcoholic:
- She is unable to stop drinking and cant control how much she drinks in one sitting.
- She knows her relationships are suffering but this doesnt stop her from drinking.
- If she tries to stop drinking, she can feel sick, get sweaty, shake uncontrollably, or get anxious.
- Her life will tend to revolve around drinking. She doesnt do anything else but what is necessary and has given up on all other activities.
- She drinks more and more all the time .
- Youll likely find indications she has been drinking despite the fact she tries to hide it.
- You may find alcohol stashed in various parts of the house.
- You may smell alcohol on her during the day, even when driving.
The definition of a female alcoholic is she regularly has more than seven drinks in a week, or consistently has over three drinks in a session.
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The Six Family Roles In Addiction
Active addiction not only affects the person using drugs or alcohol, but it also affects their entire family. Individuals who abuse drugs and alcohol tend to be erratic and unpredictable, leaving their confused family members to pick up the pieces. Addiction pushes family members to their breaking points and forces each person to conform in one way or another.
You may have heard of the six dysfunctional family roles in addiction before. As family members adapt to the unpredictable nature of their loved ones addiction, each individual copes in their own way. These coping skills usually fit into one of six different categories or roles within the family. Each role enables the individual with the problem in some way, either directly or indirectly.
Not all families have one person who fills each role. Sometimes one member fills multiple roles and other times some roles are left unfilled. Recognizing these general descriptions and behavior patterns is one part of how to help an addict without enabling.
Find Support For Your Addiction Recovery
Dont try to go it alonereach out for support. Whatever treatment approach you choose, having positive influences and a solid support system is essential. The more people you can turn to for encouragement, guidance, and a listening ear, the better your chances for recovery.
Lean on close friends and family. Having the support of friends and family members is an invaluable asset in recovery. If youre reluctant to turn to your loved ones because youve let them down before, consider going to relationship counseling or family therapy.
Build a sober social network. If your previous social life revolved around drugs, you may need to make some new connections. Its important to have sober friends who will support your recovery. Try taking a class, joining a church or a civic group, volunteering, or attending events in your community.
Consider moving into a sober living home. Sober living homes provide a safe, supportive place to live while youre recovering from drug addiction. They are a good option if you dont have a stable home or a drug-free living environment.
Make meetings a priority. Join a 12-step recovery support group, such as Narcotics Anonymous , and attend meetings regularly. Spending time with people who understand exactly what youre going through can be very healing. You can also benefit from the shared experiences of the group members and learn what others have done to stay sober.
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To Be Able To Live Instead Of Existing
When you are living inside of your own head you constantly live in fear. You live your life on auto-pilot. It becomes one vicious cycle that seems to never end. By choosing recovery you can regain control, break free from your cage and see the world with a whole new perspective. Small daily steps can be taken to reduce your anxieties, manage thoughts and avoid triggers. Sometimes professional help can be useful, but eventually, you will learn to cope on your own and live life the way you decide.
Daily Affirmations That Helped Me Succeed
Here are some examples of daily affirmations you can try for yourself:
- You deserve to be loved
- You deserve to be happy
- You are strong
- You are capable of anything you put your mind to
- You are worthy of great things
- I love and appreciate myself
- I am doing my best
- Every day is a new beginning
- My urges do not control me
Will you choose recovery this year, or are you already in recovery?
Editors note: This article was originally published on the writers blog.
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How To Help Someone With Addiction
Addiction is a disease impacting more than 23 million people across the nation. This number reflects those people who have either a substance use or alcohol use disorder. It does not take into account the millions of others who care about someone with an addiction. They too are deeply impacted by addiction. For anyone who loves someone with a substance use or alcohol use disorder, life can be painful. Knowing what to do to help the person you care about can seem a never-ending search for answers. But, there are steps you can take to help both the addict in your life and yourself.
Caring about a person with an active, untreated addiction, whether to an illicit or prescription substance or alcohol, is full of uncertainty, anxiety, and often turmoil. Sleepless nights are spent wondering where they are, if theyll call or come home, and hoping they will be okay. Some days you just want to give up. But you just cant. Exhaustion sets in from the lack of sleep, worry, and the hours spent caring for themat the expense of your own well being.
If you know someone in need of alcohol addiction help or help for a substance abuse issue, Futures Recovery Healthcare is here for you.
What To Expect When Your Family Member Enters Treatment
Part of learning how to help an alcoholic loved one is knowing what treatments are available. Another part you may not have considered is what you can expect once they begin treatment. You may end up experiencing the gamut of emotions, all of which are normal, such as:
- Relief: You may be glad your loved one is finally getting treatment and comforted to know that your loved one is physically in a safe space.
- Anxiety: You may worry about the well-being of your loved one and whether theyre getting the help they need.
- Anger: You may feel resentment that your loved one seemingly burdened you with their disease.
- Sadness: Feeling bad for your loved one and their struggles is a sign of empathy and compassion. Sadness doesnt necessarily mean pity, either.
- Shame: You may feel either shame stemming from the guilt that you couldnt save your loved one or embarrassment at having to explain that your loved one is in Recovery.
When your loved one enters treatment, its the perfect time for you to focus more on yourself and your healing. Reach out to support groups of people who are in the same situation as you. If you find yourself blaming your loved one for their addiction and its impact on your life, speak to a therapist to work through those feelings healthily.
Eventually, you will be asked to become involved in your loved ones Recovery. Family involvement in rehabilitation has proven to be incredibly beneficial for both the patient as well as the family.
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Keep Their Addiction In Perspective
Keeping things in perspective in the grand scheme of things will help you from feeling enveloped in their addiction. While their drug abuse may feel like the worst thing that could ever happen, you need to remind yourself that things will get better. Seeing this from you, the addict you love may be able to find hope that things will get better for them, too.