Late night phone calls. Checking arrest records or emergency room admissions. Sleepless nights wondering where they are.
Addiction never affects just the person who’s addicted. The people around them who love and care for them suffer, too. When the decision to seek treatment for addiction is made, the loved ones and friends of the addicted person often feel intense relief. Finally, there’s a way out.
But what happens next?
Addiction is a disease, but it’s a lifelong one and there’s no “cure” in the common understanding of the word. Rather, addiction treatment is about getting a person into recovery, a condition that must be maintained throughout life.
As they rebuild their relationship with you, you can help your friend or loved one maintain their recovery. Here are five simple ways to do it:
Make Sure Your Own Cup Is Full
Ever been on an airplane? During the safety video when you’re taxiing to the runway, there’s always a part in which the airline tells you what to do if the oxygen masks come out. Namely, you’re supposed to put your own mask on first before you help someone put theirs on.
This is very similar to a common saying in recovery: fill your own cup first.
Basically, the expression is a reminder to take care of yourself before taking care of others. Think it’s selfish? It isn’t – if your cup is empty, there’s nothing in it to share with strangers.
A loved one’s addiction is exactly the situation that will empty your cup quickly and often. Addiction is stressful, frustrating, and depressing, and you will need time to take care of yourself physically and spiritually if you want to help your friend.
It’s tempting to put your loved one’s needs before your own. You can’t. Practice self-care, make sure you’re getting plenty of sleep, and try to eat right. This will keep you healthy and will also help you help your friend.
Best of all, keeping your cup full helps with the next tip.
Show Solidarity in Sober Living: Avoid Environmental Triggers
Having a friend or loved one in sober living is an opportunity to examine your own behaviors. While in recovery, your friend is building a healthy life for themselves. Why not do it on your own?
Getting plenty of sleep, engaging in exercise, and eating a healthy diet won’t just help keep your cup fill, it’ll also show your friend they’re on the right path and potentially influencing you in a healthy way. Also, try as hard as you can to abstain from addictive substances such as alcohol, drugs, and nicotine.
About that last part: yes, a person in recovery must eventually learn how to live a life in which people use addictive substances when they’re present. Early in recovery, though, it’s important to not use alcohol or other drugs around them. These environmental triggers can be very hard to resist: Most relapses happen during the first 90 days of recovery.
Removing potential temptations is a great way to help your friend stay on the right path.
Finally, it’s important to be in their corner. Every milestone passed in early recovery is worth celebrating (in a sober way, of course). Even a couple of kind words about how proud you are after their first month without drugs or alcohol can really go a long way.
Get Educated About Recovery
About stress, frustration, and depression: these are normal things to experience when a friend is either in active addiction or in treatment. But these emotions don’t have to run your life. This is good because all three of them can do real harm.
Instead, get informed about addiction and recovery. Learn what drug rehab programs actually do. Research how addiction center professionals help their clients forge new lives for themselves. Get up to date on why addiction’s a disease with its own symptoms.
This is good to do, because conversations around addiction can be a real minefield. It’s the worst possible time to bring up past incidents, place blame, and wonder how things could’ve been better if not for the elephant in the room. Getting informed about addiction will help you and your loved one leave the past in the past, and embrace a healthy, new future.
Choose Being Patient Over Being a Judge
Change is hard work, and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Recovery isn’t just about not using drugs or alcohol. It is a complete mental, physical, and even spiritual overhaul. Your loved one in recovery may not have used drugs or alcohol in a couple of months, but they still might make the odd foolish mistake, have unhealthy behaviors, and may even have a slip or a relapse.
This is normal and part of the recovery process.
Healing and personal growth is a long, complex process, and judging your friend or loved one for their occasional poor decision will make things worse. Patience will go much farther than judging, even though it’s occasionally hard work.
Make Sure You Have Healthy Boundaries
Healthy boundaries usually get eaten away when a friend or loved one is in addiction. Concerns about a person’s safety when they’re, say, purchasing drugs can evolve into enabling when you’re driving them to their dealer to make sure they’re safe.
Reestablishing healthy boundaries and avoiding enabling and codependency is key to your friend / loved one’s success in recovery.
A Great Way To Help Someone In Recovery: Find a Sober Living Home with SoberLivingNearYou.com
Sober living homes are ideal for a person in recovery. Why?
- There are no drugs or other addictive substances in the house
- It makes staying accountable for recovery much easier
- Sober homes are safe spaces and allow your friend / loved one to work on their recovery without distraction
SoberLivingNearYou.com was developed to make this crucial step as easy as possible. We’ve carefully collected hundreds of sober home listings from across the US. Just enter your search and location preferences and click on the search button.
A sober living home will help your friend or loved one’s recovery. Start searching today with SoberLivingNearYou.com!