Living with an addict can be exhausting. Your family, including the addict, has experienced quite an ordeal, but the journey to sober living has only just begun. It might look like a long process, and that’s because it is; however, there’s hope. Recovery is possible.
The first step is to educate you and your family. Addiction is a disease, and, as with any disease, learning to cope is critical to recovery. If someone you love is recovering from addiction, keep these seven things in mind.
1. Be patient
Recovery requires compassion and understanding. It’s OK to be frustrated, angry, depressed, or apprehensive initially. It takes time to rebuild stability and trust.
2. Don’t enable the addict
An addict has to learn new behaviors and coping skills. It’s important they face any consequences of their addiction. Learning accountability is how they begin a new life as a healthy member of society.
3. Don’t give money
You may want to provide financial support to help the addict get back on their feet; that’s understandable, but monetary gifts provide temptation in the early stages of recovery. Instead, purchase the items they need to avoid trouble.
4. You can’t fix anyone
You didn’t cause the addiction, so don’t try to fix them. An addict has to work for their recovery. A better solution is to focus on your own behaviors and be a good example.
5. Don’t prolong punishment
You should hold the addict accountable for past behaviors. However, continuing to punish for previous actions will perpetuate feelings of guilt and low self-worth that could lead to relapse. Provide positive affirmations by acknowledging good qualities. This will help them re-frame their negative view of self and encourage positive actions.
6. Substance abuse is a form of escape
It’s a negative way of coping with experiences and feelings. To avoid old behaviors, schedule activities for relaxation and fun. Healthy activities are a positive step towards sober living.
7. Understand that everyone’s life will change
The entire family should create new habits to avoid old behaviors. You lives shouldn’t remain the same.
Above all, professional assistance may be required. Addiction is serious. Don’t try to solve these issues alone. Enlist a trusted professional to recommend treatment. Attend therapy, as a family and individually, to ensure success.