Addiction destroys not only the life of the addict but the lives of their families and partners. Once someone has made the choice to seek help and end the cycle of addiction, the scars of what once was still remain. Often times trust is lost, and if any type of relationship still exists it can be in a delicate and fragile state. Many spouses or family members are angry, hurt, and confused, and healing may seem like an impossibility. Some relationships even unintentionally evolve into enabler or codependent types, which are unhealthy as well. Recovery is never easy for the addict or the loved ones. Here are some ways to help ease the transition and start the healing for all involved.
Learn To Take Care Of Yourself.
For the loved one of an addict, it can seem like all of your energy has gone into taking care of the other person. A healthy relationship is one in which all parties’ needs are taken care of. The idea may seem strange, but in order to help your loved one, you need to start by taking care of yourself. This can be especially difficult in a co-dependent relationship in which you’ve consistently put your needs last. Pamper yourself in whatever way is most rewarding to you. Take some time off if you can, get a new haircut, buy a new outfit. Treat yourself well, and remember that you’re healing too, just in a different way.
Go To Counseling.
Addicts aren’t the only ones who benefit from treatment. Clearbrook provides a Family Education Program that includes group therapy and individualized counseling. During this time families and friends of the addict can learn how to incorporate the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous and learn about addictive behaviors, enabling issues, and the skills needed to utilize this knowledge. Also, find a support group such as Al-Anon in your area. Connecting with others on the same journey that you are on is an enriching experience.
Learn all that you can about what your loved one is going through. Often times we don’t understand how someone can get themselves into a certain situation, and we may harbor anger or resentment towards them. Read stories of other addicts, and try to put yourself in their shoes. No one has the intention of ruining their life or the life of anyone else. There are many online forums and groups in which you can read others’ stories. Learn about addiction and rehabilitation. The more familiar you are with the process, the less daunting it will seem.
Communicate With Your Loved One.
Sometimes we stop communicating effectively, especially when it seems like our words are no longer being heard. Talk to your loved one about not only the kind of support that they need but what you need as well. Try and get on the same page as far as your hopes for the future.
Be Patient With The Addict In Your Life.
Recovery is a process, and not a fast one. The person you know and love is going to change, and not even they know in what ways. As you both learn and recover, you will each evolve and need to be patient during this process.
Try To Forgive
This can be one of the biggest hurdles along the road when trying to repair a relationship. As an addict, your loved one may have done things that were previously inconceivable to you. Trust may have been destroyed and there may be a lot of anger and pain to deal with. The feelings that you have are all valid but don’t let them eat you up and prevent healing and reconciliation.
Of course, you want your loved one to succeed. Praise their efforts, and try to accommodate their needs as best you can. It may mean that they may need to go to meetings or counseling at times that aren’t the most convenient, but it’s vital that they go whenever necessary. It may also mean becoming sober yourself. Try your best to create a substance free environment, and encourage him or her to avoid places that may bring on temptation. Communicate with the recovering addict in your life about what their triggers are and how you can help them avoid temptation. The more you know, the better you’ll be able to help and support them. Talk about activities that you both can enjoy and that will be beneficial in their recovery.
Prepare Yourself For Setbacks.
There will be times when things are less than perfect, and this is okay. The road to recovery is not a smooth and straight path. There may even be relapses. Don’t take it personally. You may do everything to the letter and there is still a chance for relapse. Take it one step at a time, and seek help if it occurs. Remember that recovery isn’t a one-time thing. An addict cannot go to rehab once and be “cured”. Recovery is a lifelong process, and understanding and accepting this is crucial. Learn the warning signs of relapse and if it occurs encourage them to go back to rehab.
Contact Clearbrook Today
If you are living with an addict or someone in recovery, please remember there is help for you too. For more than 40 years, Clearbrook Treatment Centers has been treating chemically dependency, as well as providing support and education to the affected family members. Please contact our Admissions Specialists today and find out more about our Family Educational Program. There is hope through recovery…for both you, and the addict in your life!