There is absolutely nothing easy about having a loved one who is suffering from an addiction. Even when they are in recovery, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed wanting to help but not knowing how.
There are plenty of ways for you to support your loved one through his or her journey to lifelong recovery:
Educate and Care for Yourself
Helping others always starts with helping yourself.
Just like with anything else, you’ll be more effective if you’ve done your research and feel relatively knowledgeable about the recovery process. The more you know, the better you can help your loved one.
Another way to help yourself is by taking the time to take care of your own mental health. Whatever it is that makes you feel good, going for hikes, taking bubble baths, or joining support groups like Al-Anon, be sure to make time for it on a regular basis.
Encourage Them to Be Responsible
Even though you’re available to provide support for your loved one, they still have to be accountable for making the changes necessary to work toward their goals. Offer them loving reminders that you can’t do the hard work for them – they are the ones in charge of creating a better life for themselves, not you.
Help Where You Can
Trained medical professionals aren’t the only people who can help your loved one to recover from their addiction. You can help in many ways: helping them follow through on their treatment plans, encouraging them to abstain from substances, and simply being there if they need to vent can be more helpful than you may think. Start by asking your loved one how they need you to be there for them.
You can also help your loved one to build new healthy life habits by demonstrating them yourself. Encouraging your loved one to de-stress by exercising? Do it, too! Go on an after-dinner walk with him or her every day, or even set a schedule to get to the gym together.
Know the Signs of Relapse
For many people, unfortunately, relapse can be part of the recovery journey. While your loved one is in recovery, put some thought into what some of their relapse red flags might be. These signs tend to be individual, and will vary from person to person.
Think about what your loved one was like while he or she was going through addiction and keep an eye out for those same behaviors. Proactively create a relapse plan involving other family members and treatment providers as necessary.
Never Give Up Hope
You play a valuable role in the recovery process. If your loved one can see that no matter what happens, you still believe in them, they’ll be more likely to believe in themselves as well.
Recovery can be a long process and often isn’t a straight, easy line, but achieving lifelong recovery is possible for every addict.