Do you have a loved one going through addiction recovery? That person needs all the support they can get, especially from family members. Building a recovery-supportive culture in the family takes education, care, and intentionality. There are many different ways you can support your loved one. You can also learn about potential pitfalls that can undermine your loved one’s recovery progress so you know what not to do.
Where Do You Start to Be Supportive?
The first step to being a good support system is to learn more about substance addiction and co-occurring mental health issues. The more you are educated on these topics, the more helpful you can be. For example, knowing about the brain science behind substance use disorder can help you and other family members dispel any widely-held stigma toward people who suffer from addiction. This knowledge may also lead to more compassion because it helps you understand the processes behind your loved one’s behaviors and addiction.
You should also learn about the wide range of common addiction recovery treatments, including pharmacological treatment, detoxification, individual and group therapy, family-based therapy, and many more. Your loved one may need support in following through these various programs. There will be times when they feel unmotivated or doubtful about making progress, and that is when your knowledge about these treatment processes and informed support come in.
How Do You Support a Loved One to Stay Sober?
Sobriety or abstinence is the goal of recovery. You can support this by affirming the importance of sobriety. In the home, make sure that all substances are removed. Remind your loved one to stay away from social situations where drugs or alcohol may be present. Try creating opportunities for your loved one to participate in sober activities.
Understanding that stress is the primary trigger for relapse, help your loved one avoid stress and develop coping skills for when it comes. Always be there to listen and talk. Help them solve practical day-to-day problems related to stress. Remind your loved one to watch out for distressing symptoms or situations that may lead to triggers or cravings.
How Do You Build a Recovery-Supportive Family Culture?
Every family has relationship tensions and conflicts, though some have more than others. A high level of conflict can create a lot of stress for a recovering individual. You can help reduce tension in the family by modeling good communication skills that minimize conflict while maximizing support. Explain to other family members the importance of peace and harmony at home for the sake of your loved one’s recovery.
It may be time for the entire family to reflect on how they relate to each other. In many instances, addiction is rooted in behavioral patterns in the home associated with trauma and conflict. Reset healthy boundaries within the family and home, as spending time doing this can generate positive conversations.
Your family might also consider family counseling so that you can best support your loved one. It takes time and effort to repair the dysfunctional parts of your family culture, but working with a professional interventionist can help. By connecting with the recovery community, you can also help your loved one stay in touch with a sober peer network.
You can also begin creating new family traditions. Participate in games, hikes, and outdoor activities to bring the family together and help your loved one realize that they can find fun and meaningful time without relying on substances.
What Should You Avoid in the Family?
While you want to be supportive to your loved one, there need to be boundaries around how much of yourself you give. Codependence is a term for describing enabling behaviors that can be harmful to a loved one’s recovery progress. Avoid yielding to all requests from a recovering person, especially when doing so undermines their progress in gaining sober independence. A little tough love can sometimes go a long way.
Another common pitfall in the family is stigmatization and shaming. When learning about a loved one’s addiction, each family member may display different reactions. While many want to be supportive, some may either ignore the problem or shame the person for addictive behaviors. Because family members are usually at different places on the learning curve about addiction, they must get educated about the science behind addiction and deal with the tendency to stigmatize.
Because family support is critical for people with addiction, many treatment centers have programs to help family members get involved. Participating in educational family group counseling can help rebuild a healthy family dynamic. Professional therapists can help address the interdependent nature of family relationships and how these relationship patterns can be modified to bring about positive change for the entire family.
If you have a family member who is going through addiction recovery, that person needs all the support they can get, especially from your family. Building a recovery-supportive culture in the family takes time and intentionality, so understanding the many ways you can help your loved one is incredibly important. You may also need to learn about things you should avoid or fix within the family dynamic to best support your loved one. At Laguna Shores Recovery, our team of licensed mental healthcare professionals and therapists can coach you and your other family members. We support your loved one with our full medical residential facility that offers a range of treatments, including diagnosis, behavioral therapies, and 12-step programs. We also provide family-based intervention so that all concerned family members can get involved in better supporting your loved one. Family support is critical. Early intervention is key, so act now. Call Laguna Shores Recovery at (866) 906-3203.