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Substance abuse, addiction, affects more than the abuser, addict. After your
loved one has gotten sober and returned home from treatment, continuous sobriety and recovery become important parts of his or her life. Learn some helpful tips to help you support your loved one and yourself.
Recognize that while addiction is not your fault, you too have been directly affected by addiction.
The first thing you’ll usually hear a recovering person’s family member or friend say is “I’m not the one with the problem” or “They’re the one who needs help.” If you’re living with a recovering substance abuser, you’re living with substance abuse, addiction, affects more than the abuser, addict. After your loved one has gotten sober and returned home from treatment, continuous sobriety and recovery become important parts of his or her life. Learn some helpful tips to help you support your loved one and yourself. Certain feelings are unavoidable, like anger and resentment. You may feel the need to punish, control, or try to “fix” an addict. It seems counter intuitive, but the best thing you can do for a recovering substance abuser is let them work their program. Provide support, but don’t interfere.
You are not in control, and you don’t need to be.
Many family members try to control a substance abuser, it’s impossible not to. If you haven’t encountered substance abuse before, you’ll soon learn that forcing the loved one to follow rules won’t get you very far. If you’re lucky enough to be living with a recovering substance abuser, and not an active one, you’re already ahead of the curve. That means that even if the going is slow, you’re taking steps forward. One day at a time doesn’t seem like very much, but days become weeks, weeks become months, you know the rest.
Other people know what you’re going through, there is help for you too, so go get it.
No matter what kind of program your loved one is working, there’s one for you too. If you’re here, you’re looking for answers and the simplest answer is to admit when you need help. Therapy helps, support groups help, talking to someone familiar with your situation helps. Family support groups, such as Al-anon, exist for the same reasons substance abuse support groups do, they work. The most important thing about these programs is the “time” in the rooms. People with years of experience in the program are there to help guide newcomers. It’s hard to walk through that door for the first time, but everyone in that room has done it. The most amazing thing is when you hear someone get up and share your story. When you see the happiness and love in the room, realize that you too can find this no matter how difficult your situation is. Always remember that you are there for you, not for your loved one. Find a group, and stick around.
Give your loved one space to work.
It can be difficult to step back, but living with someone in recovery can be stressful enough, without having to monitor their every move. That’s what their program is for and through your own support group and recovery program, you can learn the concept of “detaching with love”. It can be difficult to step back, but the key to success is cooperation. You can’t get dialysis to fix someone’s kidneys, you can’t get chemo to cure someone’s cancer, and you can’t go to rehab to cure someone’s substance abuse. Give your loved one the space they need to find their way.