Recovery is a lifelong process and it is important to help your loved one who goes through the recovery program in order to ensure permanent sobriety.
There is a strong chance that we each have a friend or family member who has had trouble with their substance use or alcohol use at one time, with over 23 million Americans in rehab. It is important to note, whether they have been sober for days, months or even years, that they are dealing with a chronic illness that needs continuous care and support.
You may need to refer them to a specialist treatment facility for people who are both dependent and still suffering from mental illness (called co-occurrence or Dual Diagnosis Disorder).
Here let’s take a look at certain ways in which you can help your loved one in the years to come in order to stay sober.
1. Be There
Recovery is a difficult process, and addicted people are forced along the way to confront a lot of negative feelings and urges.
Be non-judgmental about their feelings or your interactions with them. Remain proactive and continue to remind your loved one, regardless of the situation, that you are there for them.
2. Remove Triggers
Even the sight of an empty wine bottle, particularly during the early days of recovery, can cause the affected person to relapse or ‘urge’. To ensure that they recover without any challenges, have a ‘substance-free’ environment for your loved one. This includes removing from their environment all the materials and ensuring that they stay away from old haunts and people who can activate their negative emotions.
Gradually, the recovering addict learns coping mechanisms that can help them identify and avoid certain triggers and behaviors. But in the early days, it can be a lifesaver to remove the negative variables from the individual’s daily life.
3. Prompt Healthy Choices
Drug and alcohol addiction can cause harm to the physical, emotional and mental capacity of the individual. Help your loved one recover by helping them to make healthier decisions in their lifestyle, such as maintaining a balanced diet, engaging in physical activity and having a good night’s sleep.
4. Enlist New Hobbies
Recommend your loved one to get active in new sports and hobbies to maximize their distraction from the negative factors. Join or do some fun DIY at a book club together. Learning a new tool or a new talent may also offer a perfect solution to the past’s negativity.
5. Be Understanding
As a result of their addiction, your loved one is on a distinct life journey as you are. Be aware of the transformation they are going through. If your loved one is being rehabilitated, he or she can have to drop out of school, leave their current employment, and even establish new support group friendships. For long stretches, the different treatments and therapy sessions can also keep them busy.
The new lifestyle that your friend or family member is embracing may be both stressful and terrifying for them. But it is crucial that you encourage your loved one to go through the changes without being overprotective or dependent to ensure a lasting recovery.
Be a constructive influence and not yet another issue in their lives.
Take Care of Yourself
Lastly, before focusing on your loved one, take care of yourself first. You should not pour from an empty pitcher and prioritize yourself and allow yourself the time-out when necessary to prevent depleting the support system.
You would be better prepared to provide your loved one with the help they need to ensure life-long sobriety by being attentive to your own needs first.