How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction

How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction.   The how to can be confusing.  Values and how affected he/she has been by the addict’s use can affect communication.  Fear, sadness, anger, no personal experience with drug use, burnt bridges can get in the way.

The intent of this post is to guide those who desire to help the recovering addict.

How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction

To the Family of the Recovering Addict

It is important for you to know it is understood that  the recovering addict has burned bridges that can take years to rebuild.  Do not feel guilty if you are not in a place emotionally to take the suggestions written here. You can reestablish this relation when you and the recovering addict both agree to at another time.  Make sure you have a strong network to help you make this decision.

To the Recovering Addict

Work with your sponsor, counselor and or higher power to not hold resentments against those who resist becoming a  part of your recovery network.   You may be ready to make amends but the impact you have had on others lives may require patience on your part.  Try to remember when he/she were by your side encouraging you to seek help.

How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction

How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction

1)     Attend a 12 Step fellowship meeting at least once with the recovering addict.  Get an understanding of this part of the  recovery process.

2)     If the loved one is going through inpatient or outpatient treatment visit and participate in any groups you are invited to.

3)     Don’t get upset if the patient/client does not sign consent for you to call his/her program.  Give them time to adjust to treatment. Sometimes there are things they just don’t feel comfortable revealing. Remember the important thing is that the loved one is getting help.

4)     Learn as much as you can about the drug of choice your loved one used and what mental and physical symptoms to expect.  One way to do this is to ask treatment providers your loved one is working with.   You can also visit http://www.samhsa.gov.  This is a great resource for families, clients, and people working in the field.

5)     Don’t expect perfection!  Families want their loved ones back without the alcohol and drugs.  Then have a hard time accepting that the recovering person will be growing and changing as he/she works on relapse prevention.  This sometimes means establishing new boundaries with the family and others, which is challenging for all.

Case study

I need to share a story with you to help you understand the boundary issue.  I had a client who when using drugs would promise to do everything for the family to get money for illegal substances.  

She would babysit any day any hour. There was a time she volunteered herself to help paint a house. “Hard to do with a hangover” she explained.  When the client stopped using drugs and began taking care of herself the family expected her to still give her time up to them.

Many began to ridicule her saying she thought she was better because she had all her recovery plans and going to “that place”, “those meetings.”  This made the client feel alone and helpless.  During a family  session, the client’s brother came right out and said it, “we just wanted her to stop using.”  

They loved her passive personality and willingness to take care of their needs when high or in need of money. However, now that she was taking care of herself having the ability to say “no” did not fit in with the person the family envisioned.

6)     Get help for yourself by connecting with other families.  Alanon is a great support group regardless if your loved one used alcohol or drugs.  Tough love is hard to learn and follow through on your own.

7)     Be receptive to family therapy if it is offered and you can inquire about it  yourself.  Medication can be expensive. If your doctor or therapist suggest you take medication this organization may be able to help you get a discount on your prescription medication .

8)     Be patient! There is a saying in recovery groups, “Give Time, Time.”  Your loved one did not become an addict overnight the recovery journey does not make it all go away overnight.

Learning how to support your loved one recovering from addiction is key to the success of the addict but not your responsibility.  Family, friends, co-workers, employers, etc. are not responsible for an addicts recovery nor the addict’s relapse.

To learn more read this article Chasing the Dragon the Life of an Addict.

The image below is an affiliate link to purchase an  ebook. For full site disclaimer regarding affiliations CLICK HERE

 

Suggested Reading 

Addictive Thinking and the Addictive Personality

Addict in the House: A No-Nonsense Family Guide Through Addiction and Recovery Kindle Edition

 

**If you enjoyed this post and found it helpful Comment below and Share on your favorite social media site.**

Lydia Brown

 

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Lydia Brown

Lydia Brown, MS, MAC, CSAC, CADAC Editor ATN, Home Business Owner Advocate for Alcohol and Substance Abuse Treatment CARF Surveyor

25 thoughts on “How to Support Your Loved One Recovering From Addiction

  • September 28, 2016 at 11:01 am
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    Its very tough to see people killing themselves from inside with these harmful drugs….I have some what addictive personality to be honest ….nothing serious… sometimes when I get like super tense or something I pop in a pill of Xanax or two… but I guess that dosent count… does it?

    But people should stay away from these harmful drugs as much as possible. Never let your body control you. Learn self discipline which come from within

    Thanks =)
    Andy James recently posted…Want to Boost your Creativity? What Type of Music to Avoid?My Profile

    Reply
    • September 28, 2016 at 4:25 pm
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      Hey Andy, Thank you for your comment. As long as you are taking your medication as it is prescribed for you are fine. If you need it you need it. People can become dependent on their medication which leads to needing the doctors help to wean them off when they want to do so. Addiction takes place when they start to abuse it. No longer satisfied with the relief the medication gives them be it for nerves, anxiety or pain. The person is seeking to get high and when tolerance is built up they increase the dose without telling the doctor then they start doctor shopping or buying more in the street.

      Reply
  • September 24, 2016 at 7:55 pm
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    Lydia, the Dragon is fierce and very powerful!

    I have a cousin right now that makes me so sad. He’s only 30 but evidently hasn’t reached rock bottom quite yet. He’s been in and out of jail, has warrants out for his arrest in two counties right now, shuffles from one friend’s house to another, wearing out his welcome each place he goes.

    He steals, he even took my Aunt’s meds that were prescribed as anti-anxiety tablets for her dog! He just met a woman from West Virginia, she had some type of head injury earlier in life so her mental capacity is that of a child. They are now living together. She has two children from previous relationships that she does not know how to parent. Neither he nor she even knows how to care for themselves much less children! The future is so bleak for all considered! The Dragon is in charge!

    I don’t know how people become an addict but it ruins relationships and lives all around. Nasty beast!

    Deborah
    Deborah A. Ten Brink recently posted…Storytelling Can Create Compelling Blog Posts.My Profile

    Reply
    • September 25, 2016 at 5:09 am
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      Hey Deborah, no exaggeration there it is a nasty beast. Sorry to hear about your nephew. Definitely, a tough love is best situation. Prayers and Blessings to your family and those children that this will turn around. Thank you for your comment and sharing.

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 10:17 pm
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    Wow Lydia

    You do amazing work and you write about it with such honesty and compassion.

    Thanks heavens I personally have not had any addiction issues in my immediate family. But one of my son’s friends certainly has addiction issues and he has had to shun her and turn away as she is still a user and an abuser.

    It is so difficult to watch someone you care about even a little do so much harm to themselves and their relationships with people who love them,

    You are a blessing, may you always be blessed!

    Mary

    Reply
    • September 19, 2016 at 5:28 pm
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      Hello Mary, Thank you for your comment. Koodoo’s to your son for being able to do that. Tough love is hard. His decision also keeps him safe. Blessings to you!

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 2:16 pm
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    Hi Lydia

    This is most needed as it takes so much to be able to help a loved one who is recovering from drugs or alcohol. I thank you so much for this post as we sometimes have our mindset about things and you have shown that one needs to be patient and learn more to be of help.

    Thanks for sharing. Take Care

    Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 8:32 am
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    Love this post very helpful

    Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 8:02 am
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    How very hard it is to watch someone destroy themselves in this way, and when they stop and want to make changes you just want it to happen quickly so they can be another person, one who isn’t ruled by ‘the dragon’. I am very grateful that I do not have an addictive personality and I feel sad for those who do and have no control over it. Those of us on the other side are inclined to think that people have a choice and could make a different choice, but that isn’t always the case. My PhD was on alcohol, drugs and young people and focused a lot on peer pressure. It’s hard to understand when you haven’t been there just what is involved in the life they lead. Great post, Lydia, and some very good tips for families and friends watching over their loved ones.

    Enjoy the journey!

    Reply
    • September 19, 2016 at 5:31 pm
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      Hi Mandy, Thank you for your comment. I’ve worked with adolescents too. Peer pressure is is definitely one of the components to our youth using drugs.

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 3:05 am
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    Hi Lydia ,
    I can imagine how difficult it must be for the people around a addicted and they need really support.
    You did give good advice here which hopefully gets to this people to be guided and know what best to do. It is really very hard to deal with addiction.
    Thank you
    Erika

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 4:46 am
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      Thank you, Erika glad you stopped by. Yes, it is very hard for all to deal with addiction.

      Reply
  • September 18, 2016 at 12:27 am
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    Lydia,

    I did not realize you have worked with addictions – and for so long. I have been attending a monthly breakfast Mental Health Professionals group sponsored by a different treatment center each month in Florida. So many issues – trauma, abuse, gender issues, relationship issues, families that turn their backs, family issues.

    In today’s blog post, I don’t think you mentioned that families have to realize that the addict probably did not just get there on his or her own, that there may have been a family dynamic that facilitated the designated patient, the addict, to choose the addiction path.

    I am currently doing my second virtual summit. This one is featuring somatic therapists and body psychotherapy methods and treatments for health and well-being. However, for my next virtual summit I am planning to highlight various treatment facilities and maybe also some individual advocates, like yourself. Let’s stay in touch.

    You are providing a much needed service, especially since you have had an inside look at what really goes on at different treatment facilities.

    Warmly,

    Dr. Erica
    Dr. Erica Goodstone recently posted…Touch Is Good For Your HealthMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 12:43 am
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      Yes, Dr. Erica lets stay in touch. In Virginia, we have similar meetings with organizations. It has helped at least minimize the stigma between agencies regarding treatment methods. You are definitely on point the families need to be educated about what’s behind the behavior. I did leave that topic for another post. In this post, I wanted to get folks to focus on giving support if safe to do so and not in any way start blaming self for the addict’s behavior. Also as a recovering alcoholic, I can share that it really goes deeper than who or what we want to blame. In my groups and individual sessions, clients of all ages recall something from their childhood that he/she blames for using drugs or abusing alcohol. Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 11:42 pm
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    Hi Lydia

    That’s an encouraging article to give hope, and useful tips to someone wanting to support a family member with an addiction.

    As I understand it the difficulty is that although it’s obvious to those close by, the addict may be the last one to admit to themselves that there is a problem.

    Joy – Blogging After Dark

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 12:47 am
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      Hi Joy, thanks for stopping by. You would be surprised just how out of touch the family members are in some cases. However, yes the denial runs deep for the alcoholic and addict.

      Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 9:45 pm
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    Hi Lydia,
    Just this morning I was listening to Marisa Peer, teaching how your thoughts are creating your reality and controlling your life.
    All the people who are in a dark place or situation… it all comes from within, and that’s where you have to reach out to fix it, nobody else can do it for you. Most of the time is the belief of “I am not enough” or “No one loves me.” Things that we carry from our childhood. Sorrowful to look so many people destroying their lives when they can be healthy and happy.

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 12:52 am
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      Emi, I’ve heard clients hundreds of times mention things that have happened to them during their childhood that they continue to use over. Not every incident is life threatening or would be considered an emotional issue to them. It is, however, an emotional issue for a child and when the situation is not resolved it just festers. Years later the low self-esteem, hate, avoidance, all sorts of issues that lead to behaviors that just compound the negative feelings and negative self-talk. More excuses to use and abuse drugs or alcohol. Thank you for your comment

      Reply
  • September 17, 2016 at 2:51 pm
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    Hi Lydia,
    I grew up in the “Hippy” days and saw several of my friends become addicted. Some died.. some today are alive, but not well. Heartbreaking. I’m just glad I had the smarts not to go down that road. The hardest thing is having kids and seeing them listen to their peers before listening to you as a parent. This is such important information to share. You are helping so many.
    Lesly T. Federici recently posted…The Salesman Dies Compared To The ConsultantMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 18, 2016 at 1:06 am
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      Hello, Lesly, Peer pressure is just as scary as it was years ago. The only difference is there are more deadly things to be offered and more exposure due to technology. I pray for our youth. We need them they are our future! Thanks for your comment.

      Reply
  • September 15, 2016 at 7:44 am
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    Been there. I’m a ACoA who – despite my best efforts to the contrary – ended up marrying someone who became addicted to drugs and alcohol. I did all of the things you recommend and – good Catholic girl that I am – hung in there with my ex-husband through the lies, draining our bank account and a stint in a rehab program.

    I had decided to leave once he finished the program and found a support group to join, but his counselor at the rehab center laid a major guilt trip on me about how much he needed me, making it sound like any hope of his recovery was entirely up to me. Of course, now I know better, but then I didn’t. And so, I stayed for a couple more years, through more lies, growing debt, a relapse and finally a complete breakdown. It took me 2 years of working 3 jobs to pay off the debt he left behind.

    So, I would just like to caution anyone who considers hanging in there for the long-haul to understand that sacrificing your health and happiness is not a requirement for your loved one’s recovery. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for both of you is to walk away.
    Marquita Herald recently posted…How to Overcome Discouragement and Recharge Your MotivationMy Profile

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016 at 10:50 pm
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      Been there myself Marquita you give a good warning to the families. Think most will go through the same journey. It’s not easy to give up on a loved one early in addiction. The lesson about how valuable tough love can be is hard to sink in. Thanks for your input.

      Reply
  • September 14, 2016 at 2:05 pm
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    Good Morning Lydia! What a great article my friend! Recovering from addiction can be very hard if you don’t have the right kind of support HUH I couldn’t imagine even trying to go it alone.

    Thanks for sharing..
    Chery :))
    Chery Schmidt recently posted…What Is A Top Tier Business Opportunity?My Profile

    Reply
    • September 15, 2016 at 12:49 am
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      Thank you, Chery, for your comment. Glad you enjoyed this post. So people don’t understand how important family support is. However, we do need to have empathy for the families who have been through so much. Bridges do get burnt.

      Reply

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