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Friends and Family Can Help in Recovery

Some addicts fail to recognize the severity of their substance abuse and the effects that it has on others.  They tend to shift the blame when confronted, deny or hide the patterns of their abuse, and look for almost any way possible for not getting the help that they need.  With the exception of legal coercion or a fear of something extremely valuable being lost, few addicts will take advantage of treatment resources even when they experience significant health or social detriments.

Friends and family are usually the first to feel the destructive consequences of a relationship with an addict because of the close bonds that are hard to break.  They can also be the most influential in getting an addict into treatment as well.  Treatment professionals recognize that ambivalence to change is common for both the addict and the co-dependents that deal with issues of fear, anger, stress, and shame as the addiction progresses far beyond their control, but, there is a hope for recovery.  According to the National Institute on Drug abuse (NIDA), “treatment can work even when someone doesn’t want it.”

For help finding treatment, call us toll-free at 800-481-6320Who Answers?.

Understanding the Problem

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH),” Recent scientific advances have revolutionized our understanding of addiction as a chronic, relapsing disease and not a moral failure.”  It disrupts the person’s ability to control their use, behaviors, emotions, and judgment.  These individuals are likely to be unable to enjoy people and experiences they once found pleasurable as they adapt to the effects of the drugs.  Frequent intoxications and withdrawals occupy their senses of whether or not they think they can make it through the hour, let alone each day, and they need more help than what a loved can give them.

Recognizing Co-dependency

Family Can Help

Loved ones can provide positive support to those in recovery.

Despite the efforts to keep peace in a home of a drug addict, recognizing that things will get worse is vital and the more attempts to help them satisfy cravings or relieve negative emotions or symptoms, the more likely co-dependency will take over.  Frequently, it becomes the drudgeries of family or friends to bail the addict out of predicaments such as arrests, homelessness, debt, legal, or basic survival needs and with every instance, the addict becomes more adept at getting these things resolved by others.

According to the NIDA,” When a person has a drug problem, they have a disease that can hurt the family.”  Other members too, often become depressed, anxious, or unable to manage the stress in their own lives leading to communication breakdowns and often substance abuse in those members as well.  A mother or father may be overly worried about the addicted child while the others in the home feel a sense of disconnect or begin to act out for their own attention needs.

Where to Start?

Educating yourself about addiction, consequences, and measures you can take to guard against feeling the repercussions of abuse or neglect and the unusual or unreasonable demands that come with mood swings elevating into bad behaviors is a good first step.  You’ll find many resources and advocacy groups through on-line resources, local community health organizations, and mutual-aid groups such as Al-Anon to offer free, nonjudgmental, and confidential support as you take the steps for your own recovery.

Finding the right treatment for the addict and making arrangements beforehand for concerns regarding travel, duration, payment options, living arrangements, and tailored needs can minimize the efforts they would have on their own and increases the likely-hood of recovery motivations.  You have to recognize however, that addicts know a little bit more about their condition than you do and if at all possible, including them in the treatment planning increases their outcome of success.

Support and Involvement

Family involvement in addiction treatment proves to be beneficial for both the patient and their loved ones.  Treatment programs that include counseling services for spouses and families or significant others is recognized as an effective resource tool in recovery.  Outreach programs and referrals for various agency support services are also quite helpful.  Psychosocial support services are import.  According to the Center for Substance Abuse Treatment,” In any form of family therapy for substance abuse treatment, consideration should be given to the range of social problems connected to substance abuse.”

Staying in treatment long enough will be the ultimate test of courage for your friend or loved one, but, you can help support them along the way by:

  • Offering rides to treatment, support group meetings, or for such things as job search, medical or psychiatric visits, and other important appointments
  • Helping them to stay occupied and free from temptations to use
  • Helping them to get back into treatment quickly if they should relapse
  • Helping them to maintain their strength, motivations, and access to positive support that promotes self-care and basic survival needs, meaningful purpose, abstinence, and the chance to give back as well as receive

For more advice about staying involved in your loved one’s treatment, or for help finding a treatment program, call 800-481-6320Who Answers?.

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