Suffering from substance dependence is never easy for anyone, especially for sufferers and their families. If they can make all the pain go away in a blink of an eye, they would, and this desperation often leads to misconceptions about rehab. Most people believe that when their afflicted loved ones enter it, all their problems will be solved. They’ll come out a new person, and everybody can return to how things were before their destructive dependence changed their lives.
In a perfect world, that would be the case. However, the reality is that rehab is just the first step in the recovery process. It cannot solve the problem by itself, and it won’t guarantee that a relapse will never happen. This is why it’s integral that you are well-informed of what an effective support system looks like. While there’s no one-size-fits-all solution to this, there are guidelines you can adhere to that will set you in the right direction.
Educating Yourself Is Key
You cannot tackle a problem effectively if you don’t fully understand it. There is a lot of misconception about every kind of addiction, thanks to popular media. As such, you must choose your resources carefully so that you are well informed about the clinical effects of substance dependence as well as its causes and triggers. You will also want to be aware of enablement and the different phases of healing. Your recovering loved one will feel safer when they know that you share a similar understanding of this issue and are making informed decisions on how to help them prevent relapse.
Respect Their Choices
It’s tempting to believe that a person on the road to recovery is no longer capable of making wise decisions for themselves. This leads to family and friends trying to control every single choice in their lives and instigating conflict. Some of the most common disagreements that arise are differences in opinion when it comes to treatment and living arrangements.
Perhaps you want to watch over them yourself by insisting that they stay in your house, but what they want is to try going to a sober living home for women. The best solution is to agree on a compromise so that both your needs are met. An example would be allowing them to live in the sober facility if they promise to keep in touch and visit on a regular basis.
Controlling their lives is counter-productive and may lead to devastating results. Expect that you won’t agree on everything and that you’ll have to respect their choices as long as they don’t pose any apparent risk to their well-being.
Prepare for Problems
Sobriety will resolve many of the most pressing problems that come with vices, but it won’t end them all. You have to expect that while some aspects of their behavior and choices would improve, there’s still a likelihood of encountering problems. The way they manage their money is among the biggest concerns observed among people recovering from substance dependence. Apart from those, there are issues that could arise as they pay off these debts, rebuild their careers, and establish new relationships. Anticipating these problems does not make you a pessimist. It tempers your expectations and helps you prepare to support them should any of these happen.
Make Way for Changes
The first couple of months after a person on the road to recovery leaves rehab is critical. This is when you should be the most vigilant about the support you and your family give. You have to accept that there must be changes to your own lifestyle choices to promote steady recovery.
If your loved one used to be dependent on liquor, none of you should keep these substances inside the house or indulge in one in their presence. Don’t invite them to social gatherings where you know these substances will be used. In case casual drinking used to be your Friday night bonding, replace it with other activities. Opt for something active like trekking, and try your hand at cooking healthy meals. More importantly, help them create a new circle of sober friends whom you can trust to look out for them.
Establish Your Own Support System
Taking care of a person on the road to recovery will take its toll on you physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially. If you don’t establish your own support system, you might develop resentment toward your loved one.
Look for people who will remind you to take care of yourself and help you watch over your loved one. Remember that it’s only possible to give when you are receiving a steady supply of love and support.
It Won’t Be Perfect
It takes a lot of effort and consistency to give effective support to a recovering substance abuser. Don’t be too hard on yourself by expecting that everything you do for them will be perfect. What’s important is that you follow these tips, communicate openly, and never give up.