We Have Helped Many Already
If you or a loved one needs help, you might be feeling anxious, confused, or even afraid. We understand and have seen it many times. We also know what to do. Our outpatient treatment programs and counseling really work. That’s why our clients are happy to talk about how we have helped them and their families recover from alcoholism, drug addiction, or related issue. to hear their stories.
The Council on Recovery was the complete opposite of what I expected or had gone through in other programs. I found myself looking forward to classes and feeling the weight lifting off of my shoulders with every new day. This is where I learned to deal with my problems properly instead of running away. I learned that I mattered.
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 Is A Brain Disease
It is helpful to remember that addiction is a disease of the brain, like asthma is a disease of the lungs. Addiction is not a moral failing. You are not a bad or flawed person. However, the reality of most diseases, including addiction, is that they require ongoing care to manage. Being in recovery is a lifelong commitment that will not always come easy.
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How To Support Someone During Treatment & Recovery
Supporting someone you love whos being treated for unhealthy alcohol use may be a lifelong process. Some days will be hard, and others will be easy. Those who have struggled with alcohol in the past and are now in remission from alcohol use disorder may still spend a considerable amount of time and effort learning how to cope with alcohol use disorder and any other co-occurring mental health condition.
You can support your recovering loved one by prioritizing your own safety and happiness through professional counseling and peer support groups, such as Al-Anon. You may also choose to reach out to a therapist, substance abuse counselor, or a professional rehabilitation provider for your loved one. Your ongoing encouragement for your loved one and reinforcement of their efforts may communicate that recovery is attainable and sustainable. And, it may have a deep and lasting impact on your loved one.12
Up to two-thirds of people who enter treatment for an alcohol use disorder experience alcohol relapse at some point in their lives. The good news is that some of those who relapse are able to navigate through it effectively and return to remission, and at least one-third of people never relapse at all.11
Understanding The Nature Of Addiction
For a long time, addiction was treated as a moral or spiritual failing of the addicted person. There was a perception that anyone who abused drugs or alcohol lacked discipline and self-control and did not deserve help with addiction. But years of scientific and medical research have revealed that addiction is much more complex than previously thought.
In short, addiction changes the way the brain understands pleasure. The reward circuit in the brain is altered when drug use begins. Initial drug-taking is voluntary, and not everyone who takes a substance becomes addicted, which is due to several different factors, from genetics and biology to a persons environment.
As drug use continues, however, the brain becomes used to these dopamine surges, a pleasure-inducing chemical brought on by drug use. As a result, it seeks out these experiences more and more, which only encourages more drug-taking.
The brain begins to develop a tolerance, though, when the initial amount of drugs a person takes is no longer effective at creating the same euphoric sensation. At this stage, the effects of drug addiction begin to spread out to other parts of the brain.
Addiction does change a person physically , but the most destructive changes are the cognitive and behavioral changes that propagate addiction. With that said, the people closest to a drug-addicted person may not recognize their problem right away or even after it has started.
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Become Educated And Stay Involved
In most cases, drug use significantly changes the lives of all those close to the addict none more so than the immediately family. For this reason, the family often needs help, too.
Many drug and alcohol treatment facilities provide education for family members on topics such as how addiction works and how to handle stress. These programs are key to restoring the health of the family unit after addiction.
The entire family needs to be involved in the treatment as well as the recovery process. To do this, the family will need to learn the best ways to support the recovering addict. Agreeing to participate in family education is a great way to support the addicts recovery.
Many outpatient family therapy programs are available for you and your loved ones. You meet with a certified therapist who teaches you intervention skills you can use at home during stressful and trigger situations. You learn healthy communication skills and ways to express feelings and needs without projecting blame.
Work To Support Not Fix
It can be tempting to try to jump in to try to fix your family member or friend because it is so painful to see them suffering. But remember: it isnt your job to go through the recovery process for them. We are each in charge of our own behaviors, choices, and thoughts and we have to respect that in others as well.
If you try to fix someone or take over what should be their responsibility, you arent actually being authentically supportive. Instead, support looks like deferring to them: ask how you can help, be encouraging, and respect their responsibility for their recovery process. This can mean setting healthy boundaries for yourself so that you arent overstepping and taking over.
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Living With A Recovering Alcoholic
Addiction puts a major strain on all of an addict or alcoholics personal relationships, and the closer the relationship, the greater the strain. As the addiction grows stronger over time, it gradually comes to dominate every aspect of the addicts life, especially their relationships. Eventually, every interaction between loved ones and the addict become influenced by their addiction in some manner.
Family and friends often try to convince their loved one for months, or even years, to attend rehab. Rehab becomes a kind of magic cure all. Many come to hope or believe that once their loved one returns from rehab, all of the problems in their relationship will dramatically and immediately improve. While rehab is certainly an absolutely critical first step in recovery, it doesnt solve every problem, and it can actually create new obstacles and challenges.
The truth is that recovery is a lifelong process that dramatically changes things for someone in recovery on a daily, if not moment-to-moment, basis. Often, recovery will change an individuals goals, expectations, behavior, and even personality. In turn, this can cause changes in loved ones and relationships. It can also force two people to confront underlying issues that were long masked by addiction.
Healing Power Of Forgiveness In Recovery
Addiction recovery requires dealing with emotions often covered up for years by substance abuse. Emotions are a reaction to a situation, trauma, abuse, a conversation, or an event, and in the case of repressed emotions, they are usually painful.
At the heart of almost every addiction is a gentle person hiding from emotional pain. If this is the case for you, it may take a long time to recognize who you hold responsible for your pain. Often it is someone close to you, which makes it hard to confront. It is easier to pretend the person who was supposed to love you the most didn’t hurt you. You may take on the blame yourself, at first, and assume it was your fault.
The beginning of the addiction recovery process typically begins with a wide range of emotions, some of the strongest being feelings of shame and guilt. For example, the pain you may have caused others in the form of mental stress, money problems, or physical hurt. Self-forgiveness is a helpful way to cope with these powerful, negative emotions, making it an integral component of the overall recovery process.
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Encourage Your Loved One To Join Peer Support Groups
If your loved one has not yet committed to the idea of addiction treatment, its worth first nudging them in the direction of 12-step support groups like AA, NA, or SMART recovery.
If you need support yourself, there are groups like Al-Anon for the loved ones of alcoholics, and Nar-Anon for the loved ones of drug addicts.
Attending these groups can help your loved one get the support of others in recovery, while you could benefit if the pressures of living with an addicted partner are weighing you down.
To Reconnect With Yourself
Recovery allows you to connect with yourself on a whole new level. You will regain energy and self-esteem as you deepen the connection with yourself and with others. For a long time, I felt numb and did not treat my body very nicely. I lived to please others, was extremely disconnected from myself, and became very sick. Now I am in recovery, I know that I deserve better and try not to deprive myself.
As you recover you will likely begin to feel intense emotions like never before and may even start to feel this way towards other people too. Recovery can send lots of raw emotions rising to the surface so try to be mindful of this and avoid acting irrationally or impulsively. If you do have a lot of feelings going on, it could be helpful to start a journal/diary to let your thoughts out. Journaling can also be good for personal reflection to see how far youve come.
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Do: Empathize And Listen Start The Conversation But Let Them Talk
Speaking directly to them should always be on a list of how to help an addict. This is a precursor to a more formal and organized intervention, which could be the next step. But talking one-on-one with a friend or loved one with an addiction problem could also start them on the road to recovery.
Ideally, a person should schedule a specific time or place to speak to their addicted loved one without telling them the reason for the meeting. They should choose a quiet, familiar place that feels safe for both parties. If the person arrives intoxicated, they should be allowed to sober themselves up or, if possible, reschedule the meeting for a different time when they will not be able to take alcohol first.
The conversation should be frank but compassionate. Explain that your worry stems from a genuine concern for their health, safety, and well-being. Tell them how their substance abuse problem has affected their relationships and their everyday lives. Avoid judgments and anger. Tell them that you are willing to help and that they can always count on your support.
If you or your loved ones want to start a conversation with someone suffering from addiction, read our new book Breaking the Cycle of Substance Abuse.
It helps you understand the nature of addiction, gives helpful tips and strategies from healthcare professionals, and shows places to start the treatment.
Look To Your Existing Network
When it comes to searching for employment, who you know can be almost as important than what you knowthat is, what your resume alone can tell a recruiter.
Building new relationships and mending existing relationships is one of the hallmark steps in addiction recovery. Youve likely developed connections with other people in recovery, counselors, and others involved in your addiction treatment. And believe it or notthese connections can be a useful asset for job searches.
Referrals from friends, former coworkers who can attest to your skills, and new connections youve developed throughout your treatment process may help you get your foot in the door for an interview or job offer.
People in your life who understand where you are, where youve been, and your commitment towards contributing as a productive member of society may be able to connect you with job opportunities. They may also be able to serve as credible references.
Your network may be larger than you think. Cast your net wide. If youre living in recovery housing, ask the house manager if theyd be willing to attest to your trustworthiness as a reference. If youre active in recovery support groups, or a 12-step group, ask your sponsor and other participants if they have suggestions on how to find employment.
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Ways To Help Someone You Love Stay Sober
Many people who decide to get help with their substance addiction might think that detox and rehab are the only parts of the recovery process, but ending substance abuse is only the beginning. Recovering from an addiction is a lifelong process because staying sober takes commitment and determination. It helps recovering addicts to have support from their loved ones, so its essential that people encourage recovering addicts by motivating them to continue living a substance-free life.
Millions of people struggle with substance addictions each year. The 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Mental Health found that 8.5 percent of the US population had a substance dependence or abuse problem in the previous year. Of these people, only 2.5 million people received professional treatment. These statistics show that addiction is a common problem that many people ignore.
Get An Accountability Partner
An accountability partner is someone who knows about your journey and your addiction recovery goals. Their main role is to hold you accountable for your goals. They can also give encouragement and motivation when you are not carrying out your plans. Furthermore, they are an independent observer who can provide unbiased viewpoints or insights.
If you are undergoing addiction recovery, the best accountability partner would be your therapist.
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Make Treatment Readily Available
After expressing the way you feel in a conversation with your loved one, they may be open to receiving professional treatment for their substance abuse issues. It is helpful to research and outline possible treatment options before you speak with them about their drinking. Gather resources from doctors, counselors, inpatient alcohol rehab, and outpatient centers. You may even choose to talk to a treatment provider in advance about how the admissions process works, whether theyll accept your insurance policy , and how to explain the program to your loved one.
Going to treatment can be scary and intimidating. If you can tell them about the accommodations, visitation, and amenities ahead of time, they may be more willing to go to treatment.8
American Addiction Centers accepts many private insurance policies, as well as some Medicaid policies. To instantly discover whether you or your loved ones addiction treatment program may be covered by your insurance at AAC, enter your insurance information below.
What Medications And Devices Help Treat Drug Addiction
Different types of medications may be useful at different stages of treatment to help a patient stop abusing drugs, stay in treatment, and avoid relapse.
- Treating withdrawal. When patients first stop using drugs, they can experience various physical and emotional symptoms, including restlessness or sleeplessness, as well as depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Certain treatment medications and devices reduce these symptoms, which makes it easier to stop the drug use.
- Staying in treatment. Some treatment medications and mobile applications are used to help the brain adapt gradually to the absence of the drug. These treatments act slowly to help prevent drug cravings and have a calming effect on body systems. They can help patients focus on counseling and other psychotherapies related to their drug treatment.
- Preventing relapse. Science has taught us that stress cues linked to the drug use , and contact with drugs are the most common triggers for relapse. Scientists have been developing therapies to interfere with these triggers to help patients stay in recovery.
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Take The Right Steps Towards Breaking Free From Addiction
In this article, we covered whygoal setting in recovery is crucial to staying sober. Whether you are at the beginning of your addiction recovery journey or youre maintaining sobriety, were here to help.
Freedom From Addiction is a world-class drug and alcohol rehab centre located in Aurora, Ontario, that serves the entire Greater Toronto Area. We have research-backed programs for drug/alcohol addiction, mental health, and recovery led by compassionate professionals who are dedicated to helping recovering individuals stay on track. You will also find helpful, free resources available on our blog.
Please do not hesitate to reach out to us for more information about our programs. Our team is available 24/7 to assist you with your concerns. Contact us today!
Ongoing Support After Treatment
While you are not responsible for another persons recovery, there are things that you can do to support their efforts to get better. For example, with the permission of your loved one, you can accompany them to support groups or refrain from keeping alcohol in your house so they wont be tempted to start drinking again. You can also suggest engaging in enjoyable hobbies or activities together that do not involve drinking.12
Al-Anon meetings are great resources for you and other loved ones to learn how to best support your loved one with an alcohol abuse issue. Al-Anon meetings can also coach you on how to set healthy boundaries. Therapy, either as a family, by yourself, or both, can also help you navigate recovery with your loved one.
Just remember that if your loved one relapses, try not to panic. Instead, do your best to help them return to treatment quickly so theyll get back on track to long-term recovery. You may choose to help them find long-term treatment or utilize another professional resource. And, most of all, be sure to take the necessary steps to care for yourself and your mental health.
Helping someone with an alcohol abuse problem may be a challenge, but it is possible. More and more resources are becoming available to those struggling with substance abuse problems. The future of addiction recovery is becoming increasingly brighter.
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