Do you have a loved one who is experiencing an addiction disorder? If so, you are not alone. It can be challenging to help someone through this time in their life. Here, we will explore 5 tips that can guide you through this difficult journey with your loved one.
Recognise successes and areas of growth
Firstly, your loved one has been experiencing something that has taken a toll on them, in mind, body, and spirit. Learning to cope with an alcohol or drug addiction is no easy task. They deserve to feel proud of how they have handled that journey so far, and to gently notice areas of growth they can improve on in the future.
Encourage them to take a good, hard look at themselves, and recognise both the good and the bad of the past, so that they can look to the future with the same eye.
Use gentle communication
For some people experiencing addiction, being held accountable will help them stay sober. In these cases, a weekly or daily check-in may be just what they need to stay the course and continue on in life free of substance use.
For other people, this may feel stifling. Perhaps all they need is someone to listen to them talk about how they've been feeling throughout their long journey. Or, they might just want to sit in silence with your company for a few moments.
However your loved one wants to communicate with you about their needs, be mindful of what they want, and try to engage with them where they are, rather than prescribing any communication styles to them. Remember, they know their needs better than you do.
Encourage healthy habits
A lot of times, healthy habits can fall to the wayside when people begin facing addiction. These can be hard to pick back up for some people in recovery, because picking them up reminds them of how long they haven't done them. Therefore, remind them of how much better they will feel if they:
- get regular sleep
- practice good hygiene
- set realistic goals
- eat a balanced diet
- journal about how they feel
- go out into nature
- meditate on where they are and where they want to be
You can even offer to do a few of these new habits with them so they have an accountability partner. This can help your loved one to feel cared for and supported, and remind them that they’re not alone.
Encourage fun and self-care
Addiction recovery doesn't always have to be serious! In fact, recovering from substance abuse often brings joy back into the lives of people who sorely need it.
Encourage your loved one to practice self-care as part of their addiction recovery. Maybe they could go back to hobbies they engaged with before their addiction disorder began, or pick up a sport they haven't played in years. They could even try activities completely new to them, which could be a great way to get their mind off of the challenges they have to face. Finally, suggest they find healthy friendships, especially ones not based on substance use.
Suggest therapy and treatment
Therapy and addiction treatment are some of the best ways to experience real change in addiction. It can be hard to know where to start, but recovery support is available in more places than you might think.
There are many free addiction programs, and ones that are flexible with schedules to meet the needs of their patients. Many offer addiction support groups, transitional housing, and child care! No matter your loved one's needs, addiction specialists will do their best to help them.
By following these tips, we hope you and your loved one will be able to grow toward better health and stay the course for long-term sobriety. This is not an easy journey, but your presence by their side will invigorate and inspire them to continue toward their goals.