Addiction can be incredibly harmful and it not only affects the person with the dependency but also all the people around them. It can be all too easy to give up on someone when they have a destructive addiction, but the support of family and friends is one of the most important factors in long-term recovery. If you have a loved one who has recently completed an alcohol rehab programme, you may be wondering how you can help them to stay on the right path.
Here are some tips for supporting someone in recovery from addiction.
Offer your help
Quite often, a person who has just completed Alcohol rehab will feel nervous about reaching out for support. Relationships may have been strained, harsh words spoken, or final chances seemingly wasted, and this can leave someone feeling like it is too late to make amends. It is so important to appreciate how powerful addiction can be in order to understand that this person who is now in recovery is not the same person as before. If you want to rebuild bridges and offer support, it may be up to you to make the first move. Offer your help in a non-threatening way, without ultimatums or expectations. Simply tell them, “I am here if you need me. I want to help.” This help can mean many things, from attending AA meetings together to chatting with them over a cup of tea. Certified Psychotherapist and addictions specialist Jason Shiers says “the power of presence is not to be underrated when helping people recover”
Remove addictive substances from your home
If the person in recovery is a friend or relative who lives with you, it is absolutely vital that you remove alcohol, drugs, and any other addictive substance from your home. You may feel that you shouldn’t have to as you’re not in recovery, or that they are going to have to learn how to resist their cravings at some point, but creating the right environment is vital to ensure that there are no relapses. A time may come in the future when they are able to be around addictive substances without any worry at all, but when your loved one has just become sober, they need all the help they can get.
Avoid social events where there will be alcohol or drugs
There are many reasons why somebody can develop an addiction, but one major contributing factor is often the people they socialise with. It is very rare that someone who developed addiction doesn’t have friends or family members who also regularly use or abuse substances, so when your loved one gets out of rehab, it is vital that they avoid social events and gatherings where this could occur. Long-term recovery is about far more than just detoxing or finding alternative things to drink, it is a complete transformation of a destructive lifestyle. Accompany them to places and events where drugs and alcohol are in no way part of what is going on and help them to build relationships with new, positive friends.
Start a healthy living plan together
Recovery is a perfect opportunity for implementing a new, healthy living plan with a focus on regular exercise and healthy eating. Take up a sport or physical activity together to get the blood pumping and release those all-important endorphins. Yoga, martial arts and five-a-side football are all great activities for staying in shape and meeting new, health-minded people. Take a healthy cooking class together and then try coming up with your own delicious recipes at home.
Help your loved one build a new life
After finishing rehab, the world can seem like a daunting place without the crutch of drugs and alcohol. Many people with addiction use substances as a support, and so going sober, particularly in the first few weeks, is an unfamiliar experience. Help your loved one to build a new life where they no longer need any crutch. Many people suffering from addiction are unemployed, fail in their relationships, and have an uncertain housing situation. Applying for jobs, meeting new romantic partners, and finding a new, comfortable home are all important steps which you can help them to take.
The road to recovery is a tough one but it is made so much easier with the support of friends and family. If you have someone in your life who has recently completed rehab, then reach out to them and offer your help. After years of watching someone you love harm themselves, seeing them start out on a new life is a special moment, which can be made easier with love and support.
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