But what about you?
Everyone knows that addiction is a family disease. Much like cancer – when someone is stricken with the disease of addiction EVERYONE is affected. And often times, not knowing what to do can be harmful to your loved one who has recently graduated from an addiction recovery program.
But families that have seen addiction first hand aren’t always equipped with the tools and strategies that they need to heal after addiction. There are things that we do in families in the name of love, that actually hurt our loved one who is new to recovery. While we work so hard to provide the newly recovered person with tools, strategies, meetings and more to keep them on the right track to stay healthy, families sometimes get pushed aside.
Not at Vertava Health. We believe a large part of healing in addiction is also helping the family to recover. We want to empower the families of those who have struggled with addiction take the steps to prevent a relapse, and build a rewarding and healthy life in recovery.
Here are some tips to follow to support your newly recovered loved one and also heal from this disease yourself.
Tip #1. Get yourself better.
If the drug rehab your loved one is attending doesn’t provide family care and counseling, find your own help or therapist. Drug and alcohol addiction can cause a great deal of painful, emotional stress on everyone around. Often times, seeing a loved one in the throes of their addiction to drugs like oxycontin or cocaine, can involve traumas that can be very difficult to get past. Not addressing feelings of anger, sadness, distrust can be extremely detrimental to the success of your family member – but will also further deteriorate your relationships and exacerbate your stress.
Tip #2. Put a stop to the blaming statements.
Have you ever said, “I wouldn’t be so controlling if she wasn’t an alcoholic,” or “I lost my job, my friends and my savings because of him being a heroin addict.” End it. Now. He’s no longer addicted to any substances, Mom and Dad. Your son or daughter has fought hard to stop using drugs and to succeed in their new life of recovery. By blaming him or her for what addiction has done to you, you are hurt his recovery.
Tip #3. Locate like minded people.
You are not alone in this. There are so many families looking for healing after addiction. If you can’t find some local resources, network online with people in your situation. There is great power in numbers and involving yourself in groups and programs can be a great way to feel understood and supported. Support groups are also a great way to learn new strategies to help your loved one succeed.
Tip #4. Have your own life.
We know that this tip is probably going to be the most difficult advice to for you to follow. After all, your life as of late, has been consumed with your loved one and the disease that they are battling. You’ve likely spent the better part of the last 3 years living to get your loved one into rehab. You’ve spent money and then spent more money. You’ve begged, argued, cried, ignored – and then begged again. You’ve done everything in your power to get her away from her drug dealer boyfriend or to get him from hanging out with those drug dealer friends of his. You’ve worried more than you even knew someone could worry, you’ve lost sleep, sanity, peace of mind – sacrificed friendships and maybe even lost your spouse over the stress of trying to save someone from their addiction. Now you’re just going to let it all go and head to a hot yoga class, catch the latest box office hit, or plan a long weekend trip to the lake?
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Well, yes – kind of. As difficult as it is going to be – you have to learn to trust again. Healing after addiction means you have to remember what makes you smile, what makes you vibrant, and what makes you, you. Try to think back to who you were before addiction took over your loved one’s life – and before it took over yours. Remember tip #1? Do that. And that makes doing this tip much easier.
Tip #5. Trust – but still be mindful.
OK, this may seem a little counterproductive. I know we’re telling you that you need to rebuild trust with your loved one and to find yourself again. But that being said, you still need to watch your back. Unfortunately – that’s just the way it will have to be for awhile.
Here’s what you can trust: Communication.
You can trust that your loved one knows that they need to communicate more than usual. They know that they need to text when they get to the meeting and to tell you what coffee shop they are going to after the meeting. They know that if they say that they are going to be some place, that they’d better be there. They know they have to work to get your trust back. And if they do that – you can let them back in.
Here’s what to be leery of: Old behaviors.
One caveat to keep in mind is sometimes, people relapse. But by now, you know what addiction looks like first hand – and you’ll be able to pick up on old behaviors. If your newly recovered loved one stops texting when you’ve asked them to, shows up hours late to dinner, or begins to avoid eye contact and seem like their old addicted self? Get them into rehab ASAP. If you’re not sure? Just call us. We have been there, we know the questions to ask, we know what you need to do. If you call us and it turns out she really did have a flat tire – then you’re out nothing. The call is free. But if you’re right – it’s the best call you can make.
This time of transition for both you and your loved one can be difficult, but nothing is worse than going back to the place you were in before they went to rehab. Take the steps to build a solid life of recovery – for your entire family. Move forward. Ask for help when you need it. Know that it is not selfish to care for yourself and heal your own wounds.
We’re here for you and we hope that these tips for the family can help everyone rebuild and learn to live the life that they deserve.