Substance use disorders (SUDs) affected 40.3% of Americans aged 12+ in 2019, as reported by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. It is not easy to watch a loved one struggle with substance use disorder, and it can be downright stressful trying to assist them in their recovery.
Not only are they suffering from the physical symptoms of withdrawal, but they may also have other side effects, such as anxiety, paranoia, depression, and insomnia. Recovering from drug or alcohol addiction requires time and attention. The Last Resort Recovery Center provides effective drug and alcohol addiction treatment for your loved one’s path to sobriety. Read to learn how to support those in addiction treatment.
Educate Yourself on Addiction Treatment Options
Many addiction treatments are available, from outpatient programs to inpatient ones. Some treatments may involve medications that help with cravings or withdrawal symptoms, while others rely on more holistic approaches like individual therapy or group counseling sessions.
Suppose you’re concerned about someone struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol. In that case, learning about their options is essential to support them in their recovery journey better.
Help Set Goals for Their Recovery Journey
Addiction is a serious issue, but with the proper support, setting goals for your recovery journey can help you stay motivated and focused on the things that matter most.
Here are some tips for helping your loved one set goals:
- Talk to your loved one about what they’d like their life to look like when they’re finally free of addiction. What do they want to achieve? What kind of environment would they like to live in? Who do they want to spend time with now that they’re sober?
- Help them brainstorm goals that are specific and achievable but also challenging enough that they will have a sense of accomplishment at the end.
- Plan how they will achieve each goal and ensure accountability, so your loved one doesn’t get overwhelmed or discouraged by setbacks.
- Please encourage them to celebrate their successes! Even small wins deserve recognition!
Listen Without Judgment or Criticism
Being supportive while an addict is going through treatment means being compassionate and understanding. It also means not judging them or making them feel guilty—especially if they’ve relapsed on their journey toward sobriety.
Avoid making comments like “Why did you do that?” or “I can’t believe how selfish you are!” Instead, ask questions that encourage open dialogue between you, such as “What happened today?”
Encourage Them to Attend 12-step Meetings
Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are popular and well-known 12-step programs, but there are other options. Find a meeting that fits your loved one’s needs because no single approach is suitable for every person.
The more time they spend with others who can relate to their situation, the easier it is for them to connect with others who understand what they’re going through.
Offer Encouragement During Difficult Times
It’s tough for anyone to get clean, and complex for people battling addiction. You can help by being there for them as they work through their struggles, encouraging them when they need it most, and reminding them that they’re not alone in this fight. Encouragement can come in many forms: support and praise, a kind word or gesture, or even your presence.
Minimize Environmental Triggers
It means removing or avoiding places, people, and things that trigger their cravings and tempt them to relapse.
For example: if your loved one is trying to quit smoking, remove all cigarettes and lighters from your home. If they’re trying to cut back on alcohol, don’t keep liquor in your house or go out drinking with them.
Allow Them to Have Alone Time
When someone is in treatment for addiction, they get surrounded by people who are there to support them. While having a support network also allows your loved one time alone.
Alone time helps one process their feelings and thoughts, making it easier to get through the treatment process. It can also help them feel more comfortable around their support network when they have time.
Recovering from a drug or alcohol addiction is a long, challenging journey. Although relapse rates remain relatively high, some meet with success in their recovery programs. Understanding addiction is the first step toward helping a struggling loved one. You can offer a support system and open up the lines of communication. Find out what your loved one needs, seek professional help, and become an ally, not an adversary. With care and support, your loved one will eventually get there on their terms.