If a family member is getting treatment for addiction or is still actively using, you likely know that it’s not just that individual who is affected. Often, the whole family worries and is impacted by addiction in negative ways. Yet, most family members also want to help and can, in fact, be a crucial part of recovery.
Talking to Your Family Member About Addiction
The first step in recovery involves acknowledging that there’s a problem. In some families, members may need to discuss the problem before approaching a loved one who is impacted by addiction. A family may decide that they want to help and discuss some options for offering support.
Once a family is ready, they may wish to approach the affected family member, this is often referred to as an intervention which can be done in many ways. Interventions are used because it can be powerful to have multiple people speak to the person who is using. This communication can help show the individual that their drug use is impacting the family as many drug users believe, incorrectly, that they are only hurting themselves.
When you’re speaking with someone who is using drugs, have information about treatment options available. You can have a phone number for AppleGate Recovery ready, for example, so that your loved one can call for help right away. During the discussion, use “I” statements. Describe how you feel and what you have observed. Saying “I see that…” and “I feel…” can help make the conversation non-accusatory.
How to Support Your Loved One in Rehab
While your family member is undergoing treatment, you may want to support them. To do so, speak to the treatment facility about what is allowed and what would be helpful. If your loved one is living in your home while seeking treatment, you will need boundaries and a supporting environment. Even if your loved one is living outside of your home during this time, you can support them. Plan to visit or get together frequently and spend time walking through the recovery together.
The staff at the treatment center is there to help your loved one and you. The treatment center may have the best information on how you can support without enabling any destructive behavior. You may also want to seek the chance to attend family counseling sessions, which can be helpful, or ask for referrals to support services for yourself.
While your loved one is getting help for his or her addiction, you should care for yourself. If you’ve been affected by the family member’s addiction, you may wish to seek counseling yourself to work through emotions of your own. You can only give the best support if you are caring for yourself.
How to Help Your Loved One After Rehab
After treatment, you can help your loved one by supporting their after-care and recovery journey. Design a welcoming environment for all interactions and include them in family activities. Encourage them in their recovery efforts and in any new hobbies they’re pursuing, but remember to set healthy boundaries. When planning family parties, dinners or small gatherings, keep them sober. Enjoying sober activities and making them feel normal will be crucial for the success of your recovering loved one.
Supporting Long-Term Recovery for Your Addicted Family Member
While your loved one may have completed a treatment program, it doesn’t mean their addiction is permanently in remission or cured. Drug use can permanently change the brain, which means opioids or other substances may always be a temptation for your loved one, and cravings can be intense. Your family member will need to work on their recovery every day for the rest of their lives. You can help by giving them your support.
You can also have the number of AppleGate Recovery on hand so that you can call for help or encourage them to call as needed.