There’s something to be said about a family working together to deal with drug addiction. The road to recovery is already rough and treacherous; each new day presents its own unique challenge to those in recovery.
Addiction doesn’t just affect the one suffering from the affliction: addiction affects all those closest to the addicted individual. A person’s entire family can end up being hurt by addiction, with trust being broke, seemingly beyond repair.
There is nothing wrong with feeling hurt and betrayed by your loved one, as it’s normal human behavior. What you shouldn’t do is react in anger, blaming him or her as though he or she chose to become addicted.
Learning how to live with someone in recovery is important, not just for your loved one, but for you as well. You will need to know how to handle and understand what your loved one is going through.
Enabling a loved one’s addiction is something everyone can agree to not do. The problem, most of the time, is that there are many people unknowingly enable their loved one’s addiction. Letting him or her stay with you rent free, borrow the car, or giving him or her money are all things that can enable an addiction.
Setting up boundaries between yourself and your addicted loved one is important in the grand scheme of things. Understanding that a set rules and limits can begin to repair the trust and relationship between you and your loved one.
One of the best things that you can do for yourself is to load up on information regarding addiction and how it effects different people. You’ll begin to learn about addiction and how many of the actions committed by people in active addiction aren’t out of spite or a bad moral compass, but because of the addiction itself.
There are many places where you can find this information, including the treatment center your loved one went to. Doing a bit of research can help you in understanding the situation your loved one is in right now, and being understanding is one, if not, the most important thing you can be right now.
You’ll also want to get support for yourself as well, by attending your own meetings. Just as your loved one can attend meetings with those going through the same experience, so to can you.
There is a plethora of groups out there, like Nar-Anon and Al-Anon, that lend an ear and a comforting shoulder to cry on. Seeking help here also has the added benefit of your family member or loved one seeing you reach out for help, which can inspire them to reach out as well.
Going to the meetings can help you express your emotions to people who are going through something similar to you. These groups will help you understand what it is your family member or friend is going through.
One of the most important things that you can do for your loved one is to have patience. Recovery doesn’t happen overnight; it's an ongoing process. It is important to set aside any negative feelings and emotions and be supportive and encouraging. Recovery is an ongoing process, as there is no real cure for addiction.
That’s something else to understand: addiction does not have a cure. It’s understandable for a close family member or friend to believe that going through detox and rehab would cure a loved one’s ailment. The problem, is that addiction doesn’t have a magical cure that heals addicted people, curing them of the disease. It's something your loved one will have to live with, but it is possible to get in recovery and stay clean and sober.
You also have to understand that you can’t just ask your loved one to quit and expect everything will be better. Addiction is resistant to both logic and reason; the addicted individual understands that there is a problem, but because of the addiction to a substance, his or her brain function and chemistry have literally changed to the point that in order to function normally, the individual needs either drugs or alcohol to function.
Being patient and understanding to your loved one in recovery is important. Sobriety doesn’t come in one day; it needs to be worked on, and understanding that is crucial, as a loved one to an addicted person, is crucial to their recovery. There will be times where they are struggling, as though they feel they may slip up and return,
It may be difficult and it may seem as though you are punishing him or her, but the truth of the matter is that restrictions need to be put into place, not just for you loved one, but for you as well. Protecting yourself, and your family is just as important as helping your loved one receive care.
The hardest and the most important thing to understand about living with someone in recovery or suffering from an addiction, is that you cannot make them get sober. You can stage an intervention, express your desires and pull the plug on any assistance you may be providing and that may work for a time, but in the end, it’s all up to your loved one to decide when enough has been enough.
As hard as it is, there is not much you can do, but to be there for them and hope that everything will turn out right in the end.