The Importance Of Giving Back
Mutual support groups emphasize helping others. Service is the foundation of AA 12-step groups. After a year of recovery, you might consider becoming a sponsor in a 12-step group since paying it forward is such a vital part of recovery. A large research study on alcoholics in AA found that individuals recovering from alcoholism who helped others during treatment were more likely to be sober in the following year.6
Another study indicated that about 94% of individuals with an alcohol addiction who helped others in recovery at any point during the 15-month study continued to help others after the study. Additionally, self-reports of depressive symptoms in helpers decreased significantly once they began helping others.6
Helping others provides a therapeutic benefit to the helper. When you help others, it helps you feel good about yourself. When you help someone with the same condition that you have, it can be even more beneficial. One study found that the benefits of assisting others double when a person helps someone else with the same problem.7
Regularly volunteering with organizations and acting as a sponsor in a support group can fill your schedule and provide structure to your routine. Scheduling regular meetings and volunteering sessions ensures that you have less free time to accidentally slip back into drug or alcohol use.
Loving An Addict Or Alcoholic: How To Help Them And Yourself
When a person struggles with drug or alcohol abuse, they are likely to struggle with mental health issues and physical problems, both short-term and chronic issues.
They are also likely to cause suffering for their loved ones, including spouses, parents, children, friends, and other family.
For those who love someone who is struggling with alcohol or drug abuse, it is important to know the signs of substance abuse problems and how to best help the person in need. In addition, it is important that family members and friends take care of themselves as well.
Recovery Requires Lifestyle Changes
If you think you can live the same lifestyle as you did before addiction treatment while simply abstaining from using drugs or alcohol you are on the fast track to relapse. Addiction recovery requires a lifestyle overhaul including the activities you participate in, the people you hang out with, and the way you think.
Also Check: What Percentage Of Addicts Relapse
Remember That Theyre Human Not A Monster
Addiction is a disease. It results in a distorted value system that shifts toward supporting ongoing substance use. It is OK to get frustrated or angry with your loved one and, for your own well-being, you may need to limit your contact if your loved one is actively using. But be wary of treating the person like an outcast or a disgrace to the family. This can shame your loved one and interfere with them reaching out for support. Once they enter recovery, though, communicate with them and try to understand how substance misuse became a routine part of their life.
Relapse Is A Common Occurrence Never Forget That
Between 40 and 60% of people in treatment experience relapse at least once. For some people, relapse is a necessary step in their recovery journey. Learn and grow from the mistake, so you can emerge stronger than before. Also, knowing how commonplace relapse is can remind you that a person in recovery will always be in recovery. No matter how great your life becomes, you will never be cured of your affliction. But you can live a perfectly happy, and healthy life in recovery.
Don’t Miss: How To Break My Sugar Addiction
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.
What Is The Significance Of Understanding The Phases Of Addiction Recovery
Addiction recovery isnt a straightforward process. Rehabilitation can be viewed as a journey through unknown territory towards your final destination. Although addiction recovery literature rarely mentions the process of recovery, knowing this notion can help you or a loved one when seeking treatment.
Its easy for some people to transition through the stages of addiction recovery, whereas others find it challenging because the motivation to seek help varies widely due to different reasons. For some, addiction is the same as addiction, even when it has extreme consequences. Even people with knowledge that they are suffering, may still find it difficult to find the motivation and self-control to take action and begin participating in the stages of addiction recovery. Occasionally an individual will identify the need for a change. In this sense, they are prepared to take whatever steps to obtain and maintain the necessary support.
Throughout countless rehabilitation programs in our country over the years, we have generated more optimism for the idea that addiction recovery and withdrawals can be achieved through motivation and positive action so that individuals will find sobriety. To overcome substance abuse, it is important to conquer underlying fears that contribute to substance abuse. You need to know yourself and change for the better because you can live a positive, fulfilling, and productive life after addiction recovery.
Read Also: How To Break Habits And Addictions
Do They Have Supportive Allies
Addictions thrive in isolation. Some medical experts have called addiction a disease of isolation.4 Porn, in particular, thrives on feelings of loneliness and shame. Because all people need secure relationships, someone without these relationships is especially vulnerable to a relationship with porn.
One of the most important factors in a persons recovery is the allies they have to support them. Nobody overcomes porn without understanding friends and loved ones to encourage them on the journey.
Speaking to allies, sex addiction therapist Dr. Peter Kleponis says, You need to be totally committed to your friend by being a constant source of support and accountability. Without people who love unconditionally and support them, recovery is just too difficult to continue.
Rebuilding Relationships In Recovery
The key to healing from addiction and rebuilding trust after the addict in your family has hurt all of you, let you down, disappointed you and caused chaos more times than you can count is a drug and alcohol treatment program. Professional help is needed for people struggling with drug addiction to learn how to live a sober lifestyle and learn how to live without their drug of choice.
Part of this process is helping addicts come to terms with the fact that their lives dont immediately become better once they stop using chemicals. Clients in recovery have to take responsibility for and deal with, the aftermath of events which occurred while they were still using drugs or alcohol. It was not their choice to use while they were in the cycle of addiction, but the harm caused to relationships with intimate partners, family members and close friends still needs to be dealt with. While in a drug and alcohol treatment center, the staff and counselors can help clients using several different techniques.
- Set Realistic Expectations
- Rebuilding Trust Will Take Time
After a pattern where trust has been betrayed , rebuilding it is going to be a lengthy process. Someone who is living with an addiction will always put feeding their disease first. To ensure that they keep a steady supply of their drug of choice, they are prepared to lie, cheat and steal if it means they can get their next fix or drink. This pattern is also used to hide the addiction from others to keep it going.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Nicotine Addiction
Benefits Of Belonging To A Self
- You feel that youre not alone.
- You learn what addiction and denial sound like by hearing them in others.
- You learn what strategies have been successful in recovery.
- You have a safe place to go where you will not be judged.
Guilt and shame are common emotions in addiction. This is one benefit of self-help groups that deserves special attention. Guilt and shame are obstacles to recovery, because they make you feel like you have been damaged and that you dont deserve recovery or happiness. Self-help groups help you overcome guilt and shame, by seeing that you are not alone. You feel that recovery is within your reach.
How to get the most out of a self-help group. It has been shown that the way to get the most out of a twelve-step group is to attend meetings regularly, have a sponsor, read twelve-step materials, and have the conscious goal of abstinence.
When You Have Conditions That Require Medication
When youre recovering from a chemical dependency, your treatment goal is to stay healthy and avoid relapse. When your physician knows about your substance abuse history, they must have a nonjudgmental and open attitude about the consequences of taking certain medications.
Your physician should be providing nonpharmacologic treatments to you and all patients with chemical dependencies, while avoiding prescribing medications that can be addictive when medication is necessary. The good news is that since up to 25 percent of primary care practice patients are seen because of a chemical dependency, it is a chronic and common disease that most physicians have experience with.
The prescription drugs recovered addicts should avoid are the ones that impair judgment or have sedative effects. If youre suffering from a psychiatric illness, you should be treated aggressively, since it can increase your risk of relapsing if left untreated. If youre depressed, your doctor may prescribe selective serotonin reuptake. Trazodone is an effective medication for treating insomnia.
Read Also: What To Do With An Addict Who Refuses Help
Implications For Partners Of Sex Addicts
The initial feelings accompanying disclosure may be an important motivator in getting the addict to commit to his/her own recovery going forward, including the wish to make it right with the partner.
But although the addict feels some immediate relief in knowing that he has come clean and that help is on the way, the partner who chooses to stick around will often have a much harder time recovering. A large part of the reason is that the process of bringing about deeper inner change seems glacially slow.
The literature on sex addicts and partners reports that on average it takes a year to begin to rebuild trust. I believe this is because the addict needs to behave for long enough to establish credibility, and because the addict must walk the walk of making amends. It is also because the partner can tell whether and to what extent basic inner changes are taking place. And in the long run this is essential to the credibility of the addicts expressions of empathy and remorse.
Rule : Dont Bend The Rules Or Try To Negotiate Your Recovery
Your addiction has given you the opportunity to change your life. Changing your life is what makes recovery both difficult and rewarding. Use this opportunity. Dont resent your addiction. Dont try to negotiate your recovery. Embrace your recovery, and you will be happier in life.
Recovery is difficult because you have to change your life, and all change is difficult, even good change. Recovery is rewarding because you get the chance to change your life. Most people sleepwalk through life. They don’t think about who they are or what they want to be, and then one day they wake up and wonder why they aren’t happy.
Your addiction has given you an opportunity, and if you use this opportunity correctly, you’ll look back on your addiction as one of the best things that ever happened to you. People in recovery often describe themselves as grateful addicts. Why would someone be grateful to have an addiction? Because their addiction helped them find an inner peace and tranquility that most people crave. Recovery can help you change your life.
Relapse is rare after 5 years of abstinence. A study followed young adolescent men with and alcohol addiction who were in recovery. Some were Harvard University undergraduates, and some were non-delinquent inner-city adolescents. The men were followed, every two years by questionnaire, and every 5 years by physical examination until the age of 60. The study concluded that after 5 years of abstinence relapse is rare. Recovery is possible.
Don’t Miss: How To Beat Addiction To Food
Take Care Of Yourself First
Having significant problems with substance use is a chronic illness. It not only affects the person who is using, but everyone close to them. Family and friends often place the needs of their loved one above their own. That results in a lack of self-care, increased illness and sometimes struggles with depression and anxiety. Taking care of your own physical, emotional, spiritual and mental needs will leave you better able to help your loved one through the difficult journey of recovery.
Take Our Substance Abuse Self
Take our free, 5-minute substance abuse self-assessment below if you think you or someone you love might be struggling with substance abuse. The evaluation consists of 11 yes or no questions that are intended to be used as an informational tool to assess the severity and probability of a substance use disorder. The test is free, confidential, and no personal information is needed to receive the result.
You May Like: How Do You Help Someone With An Addiction
Drug Or Alcohol Abuse Symptoms
Mayo Clinic offers a comprehensive list of symptoms that may be displayed by a person struggling with drug or alcohol abuse. Many of these may be internal experiences for that individual however, symptoms that may be evident to others include:
- Appearing intoxicated more and more often
- Developing problems with cognition and memory
- Being lethargic, sleeping more, sleeping irregular hours, or appearing unwell or tired
- Developing problems at work or school possibly losing ones job or dropping out of school
- Attending social events only if drugs or alcohol are available becoming intoxicated before the social event or attending fewer social events specifically to drink or use drugs
- Stealing money or valuables to pay for drugs
- Lying about the substance or how much they are using
- Becoming angry, sad, or lashing out when questioned about their substance abuse
- Experiencing withdrawal symptoms when they are unable to take the drug
- Neglected appearance and poor hygiene
People who struggle with substance abuse problems are likely to behave differently when they are intoxicated versus when they are sober they may say or do hurtful things, and they are likely to take serious risks with their life, such as driving while intoxicated. These behavioral problems can cause intense worry and fear in loved ones.
Addiction: A Family Disease
When one person in the family develops a substance abuse issue, it doesnt solely affect them. No matter what their particular drug of choice happens to be, their addiction is a family disease, since it causes stress to the people living in the family home and to those people closest to the addict.
This disease has the potential to interfere with normal family life and routines. A person living with an addiction may behave in an erratic manner, depending on whether they are sober, drunk or high, or recovering from a time when they were drinking or using drugs.
Someone who is in the throes of an active addiction may lie about how much they are drinking, how many drugs they are taking or even that they are taking drugs at all. This is one of the symptoms of the disease, and its quite common for addicts to manipulate loved ones if it means they can get resources that will support the addiction.
Family members may also react to a loved ones addiction by stepping in to help. Their motives may be for the best of intentions, at least at first. It can take time for a family to realize that they are dealing with a loved one who has developed an addiction to drugs or alcohol. The early stages of the disease can be subtle. Addicts can be very good at persuading family members that an episode where they were under the influence was an isolated one and that it will never happen again. Unfortunately, in the case of someone who is living with an addiction, it always happens again.
Don’t Miss: How To Deal With Gaming Addiction
Communicate Instead Of Avoiding The Person In Recovery
Many people think that the best way to minimize difficult situations is just to avoid the recovering addict altogether. But in doing this, you may be showing your loved ones that they are not welcome in your life anymore.
Maybe this was what you were doing when your family member was still in active addiction. But after they complete a treatment program, act normal and tell them if you dont understand something or if you are uncomfortable. Being honest is often better than just not saying anything at all or being consciously absent.
If you are a parent or a spouse, communicating with your loved ones does not mean you can nag them about every little thing. Dont rush their recovery process or have unrealistic expectations. They will not be 100% okay when they come home from their treatment program.
If you are unclear about anything, find the right time to talk about your questions and expectations. Its okay to ask about their future plans like when they are getting a job or if they are going back to school. However, it is important to do it calmly when both of you are relaxed and ready to talk about it. Dont bring it up when youre in a heated moment or speak in an attacking way.