Living With A Recovering Addict
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.
When To Have An Intervention
In an intervention, significant people in the users life, such as family and friends, gather together to share how the addiction has affected them and try to get the user to accept treatment.5 Some users are unable to see the negative consequences of their drug use, which is why a structured intervention is valuable.
If your loved one is unwilling to go to addiction treatment, you may want to consider holding an intervention. This can be done on your own or with the aid of a professional. 5
If you arent comfortable holding a meeting on your own, you can contact an addiction specialist, interventionist, social worker, or psychologist to help you orchestrate an intervention either in the persons office or at home. A professional can help suggest treatment approaches and design a follow-up plan. When a family uses a professional for an intervention, it can increase the odds of success. 5
Holding an intervention comes with some risks, however. The individual may:
- Become defensive and leave the situation.
- Feel alienated and isolated from family and friends.
- Feel stigmatized and shame associated with addiction.
Although a professional is not necessary, interventions are more likely to be successful if they are facilitated by a professional. Still, interventions may not work for everyone. Your loved one may refuse addiction treatment right away, but may seek help later on as a result of the intervention. 5 Dont try to force him or her to get help before he or she is ready.
Help Identify Their Issue
The first step to give help is to make your loved one understand whether their problem is mild, moderate, or severe. This is the hardest step to do since it depends on how you broach the subject. You need to be careful since a negative approach will make them defensive.
You can try telling them how they were before they start getting into substance abuse. Dont ever mention how negative they are at the present. Make them remember the times where both of you had great experiences together.
If you really need to talk about something negative, make sure to stay focused on it. Bring up the actual events but never tell them their current negative traits. Dont tell them theyre undependable or evil in any shape and form.
The way you open the conversation sets the mood. If you follow this tip, you can have a focused and civil argument. This will prevent them from drowning from too much criticism.
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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.
Stop Indulging The Addicts Behaviors And Detrimental Behaviors
Sometimes, families do what they can to hide a loved ones addiction. They might provide an alibi for why someone missed work or give money to the person who is using drugs to make sure they can afford rent or other necessities. Some families even go so far as to allow the drug dependency to dictate when they can or cannot do something. You must be firm with your loved one and refuse them the kinds of support that enable their drug use.
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Learning More About Treatment Options
The more you know about addiction and the treatment options that exist for the disease, the more help you can be to your friend or loved one that is struggling. It is fine to contact treatment professionals or centers in your area or to reach out to the Health and Human Services national helpline at 1-800-662-HELP to learn more. The more you know, the better equipped you are to support your friend or loved one.
As a friend or loved one, you can play an important role in helping someone get the support they need to overcome their substance use disorder. You should never think that you can solve the problem alone, and you should always seek out the support and guidance of a professional. Recovery from addiction is a process, not a destination. today to speak to a representative about our treatment programs.
Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.
Your Habit Of Shaming Your Partner
One of the most powerful things you can do to support your loved one in his recovery is to stop shaming him. There is scientific evidence that shaming doesnt work when it comes to changing someones behavior. In fact, shaming causes more harm than good. Your work on ridding yourself of your anger toward your partner will help you to begin to break what may have become a habit to shame him.
Few people are actually changed through shame. Instead, what is created is an angry person who feels terrible about himself and has little motivation to change his behavior. In addition, when we shame someone we alienate and isolate him, which tends to make him feel disconnected from others. This angry person who now hates himself and consequently has little motivation to change and who also feels disconnected from others is far more likely to continue his addictive behavior.
For more than half a century, those in the addiction field used what was considered high-confrontation treatment aimed at breaking through an addicts supposed denial or resistance to treatment. But many in the field now understand, and studies have proventhat this kind of confrontation increases resistance.
There are many reasons why shame is at the core of most addictions and dependencies :
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Do: Take Care Of Yourself
Indulging in self-care is not selfish, especially when youre helping someone dealing with addiction. You cannot let the addiction of your loved one derail your own life. Continue with healthy activities, like hobbies and social outings, and take care to look after yourself. Therapy or counseling is part of that process, but indulging in activities that arent centered around your loved one is necessary. Determine what it is that you need to keep yourself well and indulge in it.
How You Can Help Someone Who Is In Recovery
Family involvement is just one of the ways in which you can help your loved one when theyre in treatment. It allows counselors and doctors to get a better understanding of the patient as well as their behavioral patterns and habits. Other ways in which you can help your loved one include:
- Getting involved: Attend family therapy and express your feelings. This will allow them to get a better idea of how their addiction affects everyone around them. Its also a great way to show that you support your loved ones Recovery because you are willing to invest the time and effort to help them heal.
- Communicating with them: Once the blackout period is lifted, you will likely be allowed some contact with your loved ones. Communication can be very difficult, and a seemingly safe conversation can spiral into a heated argument. Find a mode of communication that works for both of you, be it phone calls, emails or in-person visits. Use it as an opportunity to verbalize your support.
- Offering support: Saying youre there for your loved one is one thing, but support goes beyond that. Talk positively about the future and of your loved ones progress. Let them know theyre not alone.
- Trusting but being mindful: Its important to maintain trust throughout the Recovery process, but its also important to remember not to fall into old habits. Show your loved one that you trust them, but be aware of old behaviors that may be problematic or harmful.
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What Not To Do If You Want To Help An Addict
Living with an addict can cause stress, frustration, and unhappiness. The experience can deeply affect you. Understandably, your instinct would be to do everything to stop the addiction. You feel pressured to help your loved one. But you don’t have to do everything.
Here’s a list of what NOT to do if you want to help an addict:
Don’t Blame Yourself
Addicted loved ones typically blame their addiction on circumstances or other people around them. Don’t fall for it. If your loved one is a drug addict or an alcoholic, they will abuse the drug or drink alcohol no matter what you say or do. It is not your fault.
Don’t Take it Personally
When a person promises they’ll never drink again but goes back on their word after a while, it’s easy for their loved ones to take the broken promises personally.
It’s tempting to think that if they really love you, they would be true to their words. But remember, an addicted person’s brain chemistry may have changed from substance abuse. It’s the alcohol or the drugs that are making their choices and decisions for them.
Don’t Try to Control it
As a friend or a loved one of an addicted person, it’s natural if you want to try everything to get your loved one to stop taking drugs or drinking alcohol. While you only want what’s best for them, this can actually backfire and cause you more frustration and disappointment.
Don’t Try to Cover it Up
Don’t Accept Unacceptable Behavior
Common Obstacles Of Creating A Compassionate Environment
You probably feel relieved to learn that there is actually something you can do to help your loved one in his recovery. You like the idea of creating a compassionate environment and you are eager to begin doing so. But it is very likely that there will be some obstacles in your way. These obstacles can include:
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Help Your Loved One Recover
Addiction is a terrible condition, and it is especially terrible for the loved ones that live with an addict or alcoholic. Luckily, recovery is possible. Every year, millions of Americans find the help that they need to get started living a better, sober life. You know what its like to live with an active addict, now its time to find out what its like to live with a recovering alcoholic. Contact a treatment provider today to discuss available rehab options.
Jeffrey Juergens earned his Bachelors and Juris Doctor from the University of Florida. Jeffreys desire to help others led him to focus on economic and social development and policy making. After graduation, he decided to pursue his passion of writing and editing. Jeffreys mission is to educate and inform the public on addiction issues and help those in need of treatment find the best option for them.
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.
The Benefits Of Compassion
Compassion for others has been found to be deeply rooted in human nature it has a biological basis in the brain and body. It seems that we are wired to respond to others in need. In fact, helping others brings the same pleasure we get from the gratification of personal desire. In addition, it has been found that when young children and adults feel compassion for others, this emotion is reflected in very real physiological changes. Their heart rate goes down from baseline levels, which prepares them not to fight or flee but to approach and soothe. In other words, science is now telling us that having compassion for others is actually good for us.
In the last 30 years, we have seen the science of psychology and studies of the human brain begin to put compassion, caring, and prosocial behavior center stage in the development of well-being, mental health, and our capacity to foster harmonious relationships with each other and the world we live in.
In recent years, in particular, the work of many researchers has revealed, among other insights, that kindness, support, encouragement, and compassion from others have a huge impact on how our brains, bodies, and general sense of well-being develop. Love and kindness, especially in early life, even affect how some of our genes are expressed .
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When Someone Completes Addiction Treatment Other People May Not Know How To Encourage Recovery But You Can Do So With The Following Six Suggestions:
If you support your loved one through recovery, they are more likely to stay sober.
Principle : Love Is Not To Be Held Hostage Or Used As A Threat
Having an addict in your life is not going to be peaches and cream. There wont be montages with uplifting 80s songs in the background to gloss over the grueling, extensive process of convincing and encouraging the person to seek and fulfill treatment, nor will there be a clear happy ending to signal that the coast is clear, and addiction is officially out of everyones lives. It just doesnt work that way, unfortunately. There will be fights, bitter words said, and ugly times. Your love for this person will most definitely be tested.
That being said, it is not a good idea to use your love as a tactical way of getting the person to quit their substance abuse. Saying things like if you loved me, youd quit is the sort of manipulative behavior that almost always backfireson you. Using your love as a threat will only translate as lost love to the addict, who might be triggered into doing desperate and rash retaliation, such as running away or purposefully overdosing. Instead, convey your concerns with your love. Continue to remind them that you are willing to be their recovery support, that they are not alone, and that you love them enough to see them live. Use love as a comforting tool, not a weapon.
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How To Help My Drug Addicted Son
Perhaps youve already caught your teen using drugs. You found paraphernalia in his room, or caught him red-handed as you drove by the neighborhood hangout. Maybe this isnt the first time the substance abuse has happened. Youve noticed he has developed the preliminary signs of addiction, and you know that his drug habits are recurring despite their destructiveness. Watching this battle against substance addiction can be extremely challenging for parents. You want to help him, but as a mother or as a father, you just dont know how much you can offer.
Teens, because of their stage of brain development, can be tough. Your son or daughter may not want to listen to you, and may ignore your threats at punishment. He or she may not take you seriously, or laugh when you suggest professional addiction treatment. Part of you may want to be your childs friend, while simultaneously wanting to help him pursue the healthy life he deserves. You may feel your efforts have run dry, asking yourself, What can I do now? How can I help my drug addicted teen?
Fortunately, there are ways that parents can help and support their child through a drug addiction. Follow these steps to get your son or daughter back on the right path to a drug-free life.