There are many places to go to find out how someone who is in recovery can stay in recovery during this time of year. After all, the holidays are for parties with family and friends and we all know parties tend to have alcohol. And with the latest statistics showing painkiller abuse in this country, they are now increasingly including Xanax and oxycontin.
So if you’re in recovery – there are some great resources out there (and here) that can give you some tips and reminders to stay healthy.
But what about everyone else?
Everyone knows that addiction is a family disease. Much like cancer – when someone is stricken with the disease of addiction EVERYONE is affected. And there are things that we do in families in the name of love that actually hurt our loved one who is new to recovery.
And finally – 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. But the families sometimes get pushed aside.
Not at Addiction Campuses. Here are some tips to follow to support your newly recovered loved one and also heal from this disease yourself.
1. Get yourself better. If the drug rehab your loved one is attending doesn’t provide family therapy, find your own help or therapist. Addiction causes a great deal of emotional trauma 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 further deteriorate your relationships and exacerbate your stress.
2. Stop the blaming statements. Ever say, “I wouldn’t be so controlling if he wasn’t an addict,” or “I lost my job, my friends and my savings because of him being an addict.” He’s not an addict anymore, Mom and Dad. He’s in recovery and blaming him for what addiction has done to you is going to hurt his recovery.
3. Find likeminded people. Network online with people in your situation if you can’t find some local resources. There is great power in group support and is a great way to feel understood, supported and to learn new strategies to help your loved one succeed.
4. Have your own life. We know that this is probably the most difficult tip of all. After all, 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, begged again 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, friendships and maybe even lost your spouse over the stress of saving someone from addiction. Now you’re just going to pick up and head to a spin class, read the latest book on NY Times Bestseller list and get a new hair cut?
Well, kind of. As difficult as it is going to be – you have to learn to trust again and you have to remember what makes you smile, what makes you vibrant, and what makes you feel like yourself again. Remember tip #1? Do that. And that makes doing this much easier.
5. Trust – but be mindful. Look, I know we’re telling you that you need to rebuild trust again, to find yourself again. But now I’m telling you to watch your back too. Unfortunately – that’s just the way it’s going to be for awhile. 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. One caveat to keep in mind is sometimes, people relapse. But now you’re pretty sure how all of this works aren’t you? 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.
Happy New Year to those in recovery and their family members. We at Addiction Campuses are here for you all and we hope that these tips for the family can help everyone rebuild and learn to live the life that they deserve!