How Families Can Be Supportive to Those in Recovery
For family members who have a loved one struggling with addiction, one of the hardest ropes to navigate is how to support them throughout recovery. Families goes through a lot of pain and heartbreak when addiction is involved, and some family members may feel like disconnecting from their loved one simply because they’re still hurt from the pain their loved one has caused them. A few years ago, the Chicago Tribune listed a number of key struggles family members tend to face when addiction is involved:
· Conflicts between significant others and family members
· Conflicts with children
· Financial issues
· Marital separation
· Role disruptions
· Health risks
· And more
There’s no doubt that family members who’ve been affected by addiction should receive individual and family therapy sessions; after all, healing can only take place alongside intensive work towards it.
Supporting a Loved One in Recovery
A 2017 study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction analyzed 274 clients in a residential addiction recovery treatment program and compared completion of outcomes from those with family support versus those without. Researchers found that those with family support experienced a 9.62% increased completion rate; while this number may seem small, it makes a huge difference when it comes to who continues on in their treatment program compared to who leaves. In order to provide the best support possible, families need to maintain hope that their loved one can make it through.
The perspectives of family members can hold a great deal of weight for someone who is vulnerable and unsure of themselves at the beginning of recovery; in 2015, researchers from Texas Tech University discovered that family members’ hope, employment of healthy coping strategies, and readiness to change towards a role of support for their loved one was greatly correlated to their loved one’s success in treatment. As one could gather, much of this has to do with family members’ personal self-care and healing journey. Self-care activities that family members should be sure to employ throughout their day to day lives include:
· Healthy eating habits
· Connecting with others through support groups, therapy and more
· Taking part in activities that are enjoyable, such as playing a game, reading, or engaging in other hobbies
· Continuing to connect with family members if possible
Just as they say that a person cannot help another put on their oxygen mask if their own mask isn’t on, family members cannot provide the best support to their loved one unless they’re taking care of their own mental, physical and spiritual health.
Education on a loved one’s struggle with addiction, how it’s affected them and what their going through during early recovery can provide family members with a great deal of compassion during this time of need. There are a number of ways family members can build compassion for their love one, such as: reading the signs and symptoms of addiction, learning about the disease of addiction and how it affects a person’s brain, speaking with their healthcare professional about some of the detoxification symptoms their loved one may experience, and more. DrugFree.org states, “Experts recommend developing and repeating a consistent, positive message: ‘We care about you and we want you to get help’”.
Simple phrases like this or gently telling your loved one that you support their journey to healing and restoration can go a long way. As they learn more about addiction and they begin to cover the ways in which they’ve hurt the family, they will appreciate having compassion as they make amends and begin to work through deep-rooted issues.
Your loved one is likely going to feel a bit anxious as they learn how to navigate their journey to recovery. During this time, it’s preferred that you remain consistent in being supportive; offer rides to support groups if possible, ask if they’d like for you to bring any personal items to them for added comfort, offer to babysit or take care of minor responsibilities while they’re away and more. It could greatly harm your loved one’s mental health if one day you’re supportive and the next day you’re distanced. If you’re feeling unsure about supporting your loved one, it’s very possible that there are unresolved issues that still need to be addressed.
If this is the case, individual and family therapy could be a great option for you. There are many topics that are address in this type of therapy, such as:
· Patterns of communication within the family
· Power structure differences that have resulted from substance abuse
· Aspects of relationships
· Shame, guilt, anger and other strong emotions related to substance abuse
· How the family operates as a system
· Coping skills that may be needed to help the individual thrive
· And more
Help Your Loved One by Helping Yourself
The first and best way that you could help your loved one succeed in recovery is to work on your own mental, physical and spiritual health. The better quality of life you have, the more energy you’ll be able to give towards your loved one’s healing and restoration.
The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.
Saving Lives; Healing Families.