Families are an integral part of a person’s journey of healing in recovery. With the right resources, they can often be very helpful to them in navigating their way forward. Watching a loved one fight addiction is difficult. Quite often, there are some generational components playing a role in the addiction that need support. Families who have never experienced addiction in their family before may need extra support to become educated on how it happens, why, and ways to seek help. Treatment centers are often a great way to become educated about a loved one’s addiction and work alongside them as they heal.
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Here’s 5 Tips That Can Help Families of Loved Ones with Addiction Cope
1. Become Educated
Researchers are always looking at how addiction happens and ways to help them in recovery. Substances interact with the brain and body, all the cells changing as they develop new treatments to prevent addiction and treat an individual. What boosts a family’s sense of hope is to learn as much as they can about how a person came to be addicted and why they need help. Some of the best ways to get educated are from books, online resources, research materials, and accessing free community resources at a treatment center or support groups.
2. Attend Therapy
Coping with addiction is hard enough, but seeing a loved one experience it firsthand can be devastating. Their addiction may destroy multiple people’s lives, including their own before they seek help. Spouses, siblings, and parents often bear the brunt of it all and take on the consequences. The same family members may blame themselves for the addition, even though they want the issues to stop. Silence and blame games may cripple a family when help is needed. Therapeutic intervention, including family and individual therapy, can be very helpful and insightful. A family therapy program will break down distrust, guilt, and stressful feelings. Families once defined by anger and addiction may be transformed to support one another, no matter what. It takes time to dig into the deeper issues but family members that are willing to go the extra mile can often find deeper healing for themselves, as well.
3. Know What to Expect
Setting expectations upfront is crucial for success. With a loved one who has an addiction, they may enter treatment and give everyone hope for better days ahead. The addiction is not over. The person is not cured and they are not going to stop using drugs for the rest of their lives unless they commit to recovery. With support and help from loved ones, they can make great strides, but there is no guarantee they will not relapse. Life has a way of throwing curveballs when people do not have their gear on. Holidays, special occasions, and other events may trigger their feeling to use drugs or drink. The family has to know what to expect and what they are up against so they are not disappointed when things are not perfect.
4. Find Hope
Addiction can feel hopeless and draining at times. The best way forward is to stay in touch with what brings light in the darkness. Management of expectations is easier when families take ownership of their lives. They have to do things for themselves that bring joy. Here are some things to consider:
- Learn a musical instrument
- Learn to cook different foods or bake
- Garden or grow indoor plants
- Take up crocheting or a new craft
- Do things for others (volunteer or donate services)
Hobbies are great ways to alleviate stress, build relationships, and share more positive things. When life is full of activities, a hobby helps bring something tangible to do that is healing.
5. Regulate Self-Care
Self-care practices are some of the hardest for people in recovery, along with their families. By doing things like exercising, getting enough sleep, or eating nutritious food, people can often find a healthier rhythm to their days and feel better overall. They may not know how to feel, but they feel different doing good things for themselves. Some good things can include stretching, walking, running, swimming, yoga, meditation, mindfulness, eating veggies and fruits, and trying to get enough sleep. These boost dopamine and oxytocin, which help families vent stress and breathe easier over time. Healing is easier when the body and mind are rested.
The best way forward for families of loved ones is to stick with a routine. Get up at the same time, go to bed at the same time. Find hobbies and consistently attend family therapy with a loved one in rehab or go to support groups locally. It is important to keep up with this routine and find consistency in a routine that builds positive energy for the long days of early recovery and beyond.