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3 Ways to Help a Loved One through Addiction Recovery

3 Ways to Help a Loved One through Addiction Recovery

Watching a loved one struggle with an addiction is never easy. Addictions can lead to lapses in physical and mental health while chipping away at close relationships. What makes things ever harder is knowing your loved one is doing it to himself. However, the love and support of loved ones is critical in recovering from an addiction. If you have a loved one willing to help himself get better, there are a few ways you can aid the recovery process.

1. Be Available

Someone suffering from addiction is likely to experience symptoms such as depression, anxiety, and social withdrawal. With the stigma surrounding addiction, it can be difficult for a person with an addiction to find someone to talk to. If you are able to do so, let your loved one know that you are available to talk. Having someone who will listen without judgment or emotional outbursts can be extraordinarily helpful in the recovery process.
Of course, if you feel your loved one’s problems are more than you can handle, it is always a good idea to suggest therapy. No one expects you to take on the role of a trained therapist and attempting to do so can be harmful to your relationship with your loved one who is struggling with addiction.

2. Encourage Positive Coping and Actions

Many people with addictions began to abuse a substance as a form of coping. Often, they never learned how to cope in a healthy way, which can make recovery especially difficult. When the only way a person knows how to feel better is to abuse a substance, the chances of recovery are slim.
To remedy this, you should encourage your loved one to engage in positive coping tactics. A few activities that can aid recovery and function as a coping tactic might be meditation, yoga, sports, or crafting.

3. Hold Your Loved One Accountable

If you are holding your loved one accountable, he becomes less likely to engage in negative behaviors. For example, a person who abuses alcohol may want to give all of his alcohol to a loved one. This makes relapse more difficult. Someone who abuses drugs may want to have an emergency plan for times when relapse is likely. Writing up a plan of action for different situations can lead a person to the correct coping tactic rather than allowing him to default to his addiction.
One plan of action may involve a codeword sent to a loved one. Having a third party in the loop can make all the difference in the recovery process, since he will know his loved one relapses or is in danger or relapsing. It is much more difficult to perform a negative action when someone is checking in on you.
Though watching a loved one struggle with addiction is not easy, your support means the world. By being available to talk, helping him participate in positive activities, and holding him to his recovery plan, you can make the journey that much easier. If possible, always include as many supportive people as possible. When the burden of addiction recovery falls on only one person, there can be negative consequences. Instead, utilize the help of a support network to help your loved one through this difficult time.

Jennifer Woodson enjoys serving the public as a writer for PublicHealthCorps.org. The site is dedicated to putting the public back into public health by serving as a hub of reputable and useful public information on health topics.

Image via Pixabay by Mimzy

 

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