Substance abuse and addiction affect one in every 10 Americans age 12 and older. That amounts to over 23 million people. And, unfortunately, only 11% of addicts get treatment for their addiction.
That’s why supporting your loved ones who are getting treatment for alcohol or drug addiction is so important. Supporting and encouraging a recovering addict could mean the difference between them getting sober and them falling off the wagon.
Here are 5 tips that will help you support a loved one who is recovering or in treatment for addiction.
Learn About Their Addiction
It can be hard to watch a loved one become addicted to drugs or alcohol. You might be thinking to yourself, “why can’t they just stop?” or, “the hard part is over now that they’ve stopped drinking/taking drugs.”
And however common these thoughts might be, they’re rooted in a misunderstanding of addiction itself.
It’s easy to want to lecture your loved one or to minimize the difficulty of quitting when you’ve never been addicted to anything before. But this can backfire: they won’t feel like you understand what they’re going through, and it can cause them even more guilt and shame.
Addiction is a disease that affects brain chemistry, behavior, emotions, and the physical body.
Learn as much as possible about addiction and about your loved one’s journey so you can fully understand and support their struggle to get sober.
Support Their Recovery Efforts
Whether a recovering addict is going to a support group, attending AA meetings, or entering into rehab, you should be there to support and encourage these steps towards recovery. Having somebody in their corner during this difficult time can help an addict know they have support.
If your loved one doesn’t know where to begin their journey to recovery, you can suggest things to them. Look for local support groups to learn more about recovery centers.
Give Them a Substance-Free Environment
Try not to drink or use drugs around your loved one. This can push them towards relapse and threaten their long-term recovery.
You should also make sure their living environment doesn’t have any drugs, alcohol, or drug paraphernalia either.
Recovering from addiction is never a smooth journey. Your loved one is bound to make mistakes, have bad days, and even potentially relapse.
Be patient if they have slip-ups or make mistakes. They need to know that you are going to be there for them no matter what happens.
Encourage Healthier Activities and Habits
Besides going to treatment programs or support groups, healthy activities like exercise, eating healthy meals, socializing in drug-free environments, and spending time with friends and family can help recovering addicts feel more positive and supported.
Encourage your loved one to take up a hobby and be around positive people to foster an environment where they can recover happily and healthily.
Supporting a Recovering Addict: 5 Simple Tips
Having a strong support system is an essential part of addiction recovery. A recovering addict needs to have people there to help them during one of the hardest journeys of their lives.
Hopefully, these tips can help you support your loved one recovering from addiction. If you’d like more information on addiction and recovery, check out our blog.