Addiction is a family illness, affecting not only the addict but everyone who cares about them too. For friends and family of addicts and alcoholics, the first question that often comes to mind is: “how can I help them get better?”, “How do I find them the right treatment and support they need to recover?”
Recovery may seem like an alien concept right now, or completely impossible. We want you to know that there are many ways in which you can support your loved one through their recovery whilst maintaining your own physical and mental health and wellbeing.
Here at the Providence Projects, we have seen first-hand the benefits of support and love from family and friends throughout an addict’s treatment journey in detox, rehabilitation and beyond. We know that this support is a crucial element to a person’s recovery. But we also understand that it is overwhelming and often heart breaking to watch someone you love fall into the depths of addiction. The same person you have known for many years can quickly become someone you hardly recognise, or worse, someone you can’t stand to be around. Due to the nature of the disease, the addict’s substance of choice sadly takes precedence over any quality time with family and friends, or connection with them.
It can certainly be tempting to create distance from the addict or alcoholic and their substance abuse, to separate yourself from the chaos. We would encourage you to involve yourself as much as possible with your loved one’s recovery process, and use the below information as a guide when trying to navigate through this very difficult time. If you are interested in seeking bespoke advice and guidance on addiction, treatment, rehab and detox programmes, or simply need some support, please call us today on 0800 955 0945. Our team of therapists and counsellors, medical, and support staff are on hand to answer any questions you may have.
Top Tips for Helping a Loved One
There aren’t easy answers to supporting someone through rehab treatment and recovery. It is about finding what works best for you and your circumstances. Remember to always put yourself first, look after your own self-care, so that you can be there for your loved one too.
Educate yourself about addiction and recovery
Addiction is a multifaceted, complex, often misunderstood disease. Breaking free from active addiction and entering recovery is often one of the most challenging events of a person’s life. Loved ones and friends often struggle to understand why their addict or alcoholic continues to drink or take drugs when the consequences are so severe, and so clear to see. Sadly, denial is such a strong feature of addiction, that often the addict doesn’t understand quite how bad things have got until they are clean and sober later. Educating yourself on the many aspects of addiction and recovery, such as enabling behaviours, the treatment process, triggers for relapse and boundaries, can be very helpful for everyone involved. It will be much easier to identify, relate and help a recovering addict or alcoholic when you have the facts – this also helps to reduce stigma and misconceptions that surround the illness.
Set healthy boundaries with your loved one
The term ‘boundaries’ may not be one you have come across before, but when it comes to recovery, setting healthy boundaries with your recovering addict can make all the difference. The term refers to certain rules that are decided and agreed one between both parties, to ensure relationships are kept safe, supportive and respectful. They protect both parties and can be written up as a formal agreement where necessary.
Avoid enabling behaviours
Many loved ones and friends will want to help but they just don’t know how. They may end up enabling behaviours, thinking they are helping. Enabling is a term that refers any behaviours which allow a loved one to continue in their patterns of self-destructive behaviour, or supports any harmful behaviours directly or indirectly. Many people get confused between helping and enabling their addict or alcoholic. Examples of enabling include excusing bad behaviour, lending the addict money or paying off their debts, taking them back home when you have told them to move out unless they’re sober. Sadly, enabling behaviour prevents the addict from seeing the full consequences of their actions. In short, they think they can keep getting away with it. Call us today on 0800 955 0945 for support and advice on how to stop enabling your loved one, and how to provide them with the proper support they need instead.
Encourage your loved one to seek detox and rehab treatment
Continue to be positive and encouraging of your loved one seeking treatment and professional help for their addiction problem, regardless of how bad things may get. Losing hope that recovery is possible is a problem for lots of addicts and alcoholics, and they often need all the help they can get to enter treatment. By entering a private drug and alcohol rehab clinic like the Providence Projects, clients receive the peer interaction, therapy and support groups they need to get clean and sober and address their issues. Through group therapy, individual counselling and workshops on a range of topics associated with addiction, clients at the Providence Projects are able to heal from their past and move forward.
Many families hold unrealistic expectations of what their addict or alcoholic will achieve after coming out of rehab treatment. Many see detox and rehab as a quick-fix, or pin all their hopes on it ‘working’. They believe that after leaving rehab, the addict’s problems will all be solved and everyone can move on. In reality, recovery is a lifelong process and a journey that will have its ups and downs just like anyone’s life does. Whilst rehab is certainly a critical step in recovery, and can provide a solid foundation in which to move forward, it doesn’t solve every problem – especially if these have been ongoing for years. Managing expectations about the change that a recovering addict or alcoholic can deal with, can be very helpful for all involved. There are many issues that addiction leads to for both parties, and a lot of these problems will still need to be addressed in recovery too. For example, relationship problems can be the most painful; it can take years to rebuild trust, and in some cases, it just isn’t possible.
Family Programme at the Providence Projects
Here at the Providence Projects, we value the importance of emotional recovery as well as physical. Healing from addiction and recovering psychologically is often made easier with the support of family and friends. That’s why we place so much emphasis on our family programme as part of our treatment process.
Our expert team of counsellors and addiction therapists regularly explain to our clients how while life is a lot easier without the crutch of drugs and alcohol or gambling, it still presents problems. Those in recovery are just much better equipped to deal with them, than in active addiction. Additionally, relapse is always a possibility, even after many years. Understanding and preparing for these problems will make it easier to deal with them and lessen their impact.
The strain that addiction puts on a family is huge, it is like a tornado destroying everything in its path. The longer and more severe the addiction, the greater the strain, until the illness comes to dominate every aspect of the addict’s life, including their relationships. Rebuilding relationships after active addiction can take years. The lies, manipulation and deceit that are a direct result of the illness can corrode trust and damage even the strongest of ties. Our family meetings are a useful way to confront these situations honestly, and communicate with the other party with the help of a trained addiction counsellor to facilitate the meeting.
If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction problem, we can help you make the transition to a better and happier life. Please feel free to contact us today, on 0800 955 0945, or complete our quick and easy contact form, where you can speak with our friendly admissions team and learn more about our full range of detox and rehab programmes available.