When a person struggles with alcohol or drug use, it has an impact on the lives of the people who care about them. Recovery is therefore often an emotional journey, not only for the person stepping away from drugs and alcohol, but also their loved ones. If you are the partner or family member of someone recovering from addiction, following these tips can help you take care of yourself while supporting them during this process.
Learn about addiction and recovery
Addiction is a complex condition where psychological, biological, environmental, and social factors weave together and lead an individual to out of control use of alcohol and/or drugs, despite the objectively harmful consequences. Getting accurate information on what addiction actually is will help you dispel common myths, like the idea that your loved one “chose” to develop an addiction or the idea that people of your loved one’s age/gender/cultural background etc. don’t struggle with substance use.
Recovery often involves tackling the person’s challenges from a variety of angles – your loved one’s tools for recovery may or may not include inpatient treatment, outpatient treatment, medication-assisted treatment, mental health therapy, spiritual support, peer support, and more. Understanding key facts about recovery, such as that relapse can occur in (but does not necessarily end) the recovery process, empowers you to have hope that your loved one will get better.
Don’t isolate yourself
Family members and partners of people who have struggled with addiction might pull away from their other social relationships, out of embarrassment about how their loved one acted while under the influence, or from the general stigma connected to alcoholism and drug addiction. But rejecting the connection of friends and community members who care about you cuts you off from important means of support.
People who support you can help you with concrete things, for example babysitting your young children so that you have a chance to visit your partner in rehab. They can also help you get some distance from the emotional toll of the recovery process when you need to take a break from it all – simple things like watching sports with a friend or gossiping about celebrities can really refresh you.
If you’ve been holding life together while your loved one was using drugs or alcohol, you may be used to the feeling of doing everything by yourself. It doesn’t need to be this way – you deserve to have people help take care of you and support you.
Find people who get it
No one understands the ups and downs of supporting a loved one in recovery like people who have been through it themselves. Connecting with other partners or family members who have a loved one recovering from addiction will remind you that others have faced these challenges, and you can too.
If you are involved with your loved one’s substance use treatment, you may wish to ask the providers if they offer family support groups or other similar resources. You can also research if there are any independent peer support groups in your area, like Al-Anon or SMART Recovery Family and Friends.
Therapy can be another form of support for you and the emotions that come up for you in your loved one’s recovery journey. Therapy can also help you address ways you may have been affected by your loved one’s alcohol or drug use – like forming codependent habits or experiencing trauma reactions.
You need to take care of yourself too –
click the button below to learn more about my therapy practice. We can arrange a free initial phone consultation that will help me understand more about what you’ve been facing and show you how therapy can help you get through it.