Ways to Support
Your Loved One In Early Recovery
February 28, 2019
Oftentimes, family members and loved ones of those in early recovery are in their own process of healing from the effects of drug addiction and alcoholism. Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone in the family or relationship, not just the individual struggling with addiction. It is so important for everyone involved to know that each individual is going through their own healing journey. Here are a few tips for ways that family members can support their loved one in recovery.
Take Care of Yourself
For many family members of someone struggling with chemical dependency, you may realize that your mental and emotional energy has been entangled with trying to encourage your family member to seek help for their addiction. This could have led to neglecting your own needs for self-care. One of the most important things that family members and loved ones can do is to take care of themselves.
- Attend support groups like Al-Anon, Nar-Anon, and Co-Dependents Anonymous.
- Find a therapist or counselor where you can process your experience of loving someone who has chemical dependency issues.
- Spend time doing things that you enjoy!
Learn about Recovery from Addiction
For many families and loved ones, you may know a lot about addiction itself through years of loving someone who is in active addiction. It is just as important to learn about the recovery process. Recovery begins with abstinence. Once the family member or loved one stops putting substances in their body, they will go through changes in every area of their life.
- Encourage complete abstinence from all drugs and alcohol.
- Attend family groups or family programs offered by the treatment providers caring for your loved one.
Give your Loved One Space to Learn and Grow in Recovery
For many family members, you may be so excited to see your loved one find recovery that you expect they will change overnight into the person you remember before they started using drugs or alcohol. It is important to remember that recovery is about progress not perfection. They will need time to figure out this new way of living. Placing expectations on their ability to immediately handle and succeed in all areas of their new life may be overwhelming. Give your loved one space to stumble in early recovery – this doesn’t mean relapse – it means let them make mistakes so they can figure out what works for their new life in recovery.
- Encourage and support their attendance at support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous.
- Understand their need for sober peer groups where they learn to develop new relationships and how to have fun in recovery.
- Instead of rescuing them from mistakes or challenges they face during early recovery, encourage them to solve problems for themselves with support from their own counselors, recovery sponsors and friends.
We also understand that each family situation is unique. There is no one-size-fits-all solution for family healing in recovery. If you are struggling to understand how you can care for yourself and support your loved one who is in early recovery, we are here to help. Perspectives offers family groups, codependency support and private family sessions to support family members in this journey of healing and recovery for all.