Watching your loved one struggle with addiction can make you feel helpless and heartbroken.  When they finally decide to seek professional help in the form of an inpatient recovery program, the emotions surrounding that decision can be very complex for everyone involved.  While you will surely be proud of them and hopeful for the future, it can be hard to know how best to support them during this time, and what your role is now that you aren’t seeing them every day.  Even though the situation has changed, there are still steps you can take while your loved one is in recovery to help them stay positive and ultimately succeed in their battle against addiction.

Educate Yourself

One of the best ways you can empower yourself to support and encourage your loved one through addiction recovery is to inform yourself about the science of addiction, as well as some of the techniques that may be used to help your loved one begin to recover.  By creating a better understanding of how drugs and alcohol effect a person’s behavior, and of how addiction continues to affect the brain for many years into sobriety, you can begin to reframe the way you perceive your loved one and their addiction.

Ask About Family Programs

Many treatment centers encourage the active participation of supportive family members in their clients’ recovery journey.  Not only do family programs help you deal with the emotional ups and downs of having a loved one in recovery, and help to establish realistic expectations of the process, but your involvement will also increase your family member’s chance of success.  Additionally, but joining a support group for family members of those in recovery, such as Al-Anon, you will get to know other people going through the same difficult time, and have a safe space to openly discuss the way addiction has affected you and your family. 

Seek Out Individual Counseling

Therapy is a great addition to anyone’s self-care plan, but it is especially beneficial to people who have experienced the trauma of a loved one’s addiction.  One of the best ways you can support your loved one’s recovery is to take the time to focus on your own healing. By working through any pain and anger you have as a result of your loved one’s actions, you can take responsibility for your own mental wellness and lessen the burden on them.  

Write Letters of Support

In addition to visiting your loved one while they are at an inpatient recovery center, you should write them encouraging and supportive letters.  Let them know that you are proud of them for their decision to get help, and that you are also taking this time to learn more about addiction and work on your own healing.  You may ask for the guidance of your therapist in composing a letter, to be sure that you stay positive and refrain from any accusatory language. 

Change Your Environment

This is especially important if you typically live with the person who is now in recovery.  While they are away, it can be a good time to consider the environment and lifestyle they have to come home to. For example, you can start to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself by improving your diet and keeping junk food and sweets out of the house.  You may also start to become more active so that daily exercise becomes a normal part of your routine. A holistic treatment center will encourage your loved one to improve upon their nutrition and activity to support their recovery, and by doing this for yourself you are contributing to your own wellness while also creating a lifestyle more conducive to their recovery.

End the Stigma

One of the biggest obstacles for people who experience addiction is getting past the heavy stigma of the disease.  Often, families will conceal their loved one’s battle with addiction out of shame or embarrassment. By acting as if your family member’s decision to get help is something to be ashamed of, you are increasing the stigma surrounding addiction and taking away the empowering aspect of recovery.  End the stigma by being honest with others about your loved one’s battle with addiction (with their consent), as well as by being openly proud of them for choosing to get sober.

Stop Enabling

If you have participated in enabling behavior in the past, your loved one’s inpatient recovery is a great time for you to wipe the slate clean and stop all co-dependency.  If your loved one will eventually be returning to your residence, make your home a strictly substance-free zone, and make a commitment not to financially or emotionally support decisions that will be detrimental to their recovery.  

 

At Burning Tree Ranch, we specialize in long-term care that produces real results, especially for those who have experienced relapse.  Here you will find a team of qualified and compassionate professionals, ready to help each client through a customized treatment program that addresses all aspects of addiction, including the identification of co-occurring disorders.  We know that the journey towards recovery doesn’t end with the conclusion of an inpatient program, and we provide extensive aftercare programs to best support our clients during their transition into lasting sobriety. We also know that addiction affects the whole family, and therefore loved ones are encouraged to participate in the recovery process and take advantage of all our support resources.  For more information, call us today at 512-285-5900.