Early recovery is a fragile time. Addiction is a family disease because it inflicts just as much -if not more- pain to the family of the active user. Though you are glad that your addicted love one is no longer using and is seemingly heading in the right direction, you are filled with ambivalence, hope, and fear.
Recovery is not just about the former active user abstaining from mind-altering, mood-altering substances and changing their lifestyle and perspective. The family must be active in their recovery by healing themselves from the pain the addiction has caused, avoiding old patterns of compulsive behaviors (e.g. enabling, shaming, denial, and co-dependency), and learning how to change the family system to make it hospitable to the recovering individual.
Dealing with a Newly-Recovering Loved One
Attend Support Groups
Al-anon and Families’ Anonymous groups are two nationwide support groups for loved ones of addicts. In these groups, you will learn the tools to help yourself, not the addict through connecting with other loved ones of addicts and working the Twelve Steps. Through working the program, you will learn that the best way to help your addicted love one, actively using or not, is by taking care of yourself.
Avoid the Temptation to Overthink and Micromanage
You may be very fearful of relapse; however, you did not cause, cannot change, and cannot control the disease. You cannot worry every time your loved one comes home late, seems excessively tired, or behaves slightly irritable. You also cannot control the person’s actions or choices. If you get caught up in being preoccupied with your loved one, you will become co-dependent. However, do not be afraid to set firm boundaries regarding using or acting like they are using.
Educate Yourself on Addiction, Recovery, and Co-dependency
Addiction is often misconstrued as a choice or flaw of character. Recovery is a unique process. Addicts’ closest loved ones often struggle with co-dependency. In addition to getting support from other loved ones of addicts, you educate yourself on addiction and the recovery process. You should read books, do internet research, and attend community events and seminars. You may know the beast of addiction, but you most likely know so little about the beast.
Be Loving, Forgiving, Patient, and Supportive
Early recovery is full of bad days. Relapse is a part of recovery for many. Your loved one will need you to be loving, patient, and supportive toward them. Resentments about the past and slow progress are normal, but you should be forgiving toward them about the past and present mistakes. Your love and support will give them motivation for recovery.
Genesis House in an excellent rehab in Lake Worth, Florida for adults who are battling drug and alcohol addiction. If you are interested in their services or have general questions, call them today at 800-737-0933