How Can I Support a Loved One who is Recovering from Addiction?

Drug addiction hits families hard. As anybody with a family member who is battling addiction knows, there is no way to help an addict unless he or she wants to be helped.

When a loved one does get help for his or her disease, whether that help is completely voluntary or following a conviction, he or she faces years of difficulty getting and staying clean. Overcoming a drug addiction is physically and emotionally exhausting and can involve years of therapy, lifestyle changes and sometimes, relapses.

Although you want to help your loved one overcome his or her struggles, you might not know how. The following tips can help you to help your family member reach his or her recovery goals.

Encourage Him or Her to Participate in Support Groups

Various groups, such as Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) and Narcotics Anonymous (NA) exist to provide recovering addicts with a safe place to discuss their struggles and work toward a healthy future with support from their peers. If your loved one is not involved with this type of group, encourage him or her to seek help with one. Encourage him or her to keep trying groups until he or she finds one that is a good fit – not all support groups have the same ideologies or use the same methods.

Be Aware of the Signs of Relapse

Relapses happen, often without warning. Be on the lookout for the following behavior changes, which can often be signs of a recent or imminent relapse:

  • Romanticizing his or her life or lifestyle during addiction.

  • Reconnecting with the individuals with whom he or she used the drug.

  • A sudden change in attitude or behavior, especially a resurgence of the behaviors he or she exhibited while addicted.

  • A loss of interest in new hobbies or healing.

  • Insistence that he or she can use his or her substance of choice “responsibly,” such as stating he or she can have one drink with dinner or play one hand of online poker.

If your loved one is showing signs of a relapse, reach out to him or her and express your concern. Do not blame him or her for “failing” or attempt to shame him or her. Addiction is a disease, and many individuals who struggle with addiction face relapses. Be a supporter for your loved one.

Act as an Advocate for your Loved One

It can be overwhelming for a recovering addict to handle the attention and questioning from family members as he or she moves through the steps of recovery. Make it easier for him or her by volunteering to update family members about his or her progress. You can field their questions and act as a buffer for your loved one, giving him or her the time he or she might need to focus on recovery.

Addiction is difficult for everybody in an addict’s social circle. For answers to your legal questions about New Jersey’s drug laws and drug court program, contact The Law Office of Eric B. Hannum Esq., LLC. at 732-370-9596. We are a legal resource for individuals and families in Mercer, Monmouth, Middlesex, Ocean, and Burlington counties.

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