Family of Addicts: How to Cope When a Loved One Is Recovering from Addiction
Drug addicts are not the only people affected by the disease of addiction; the reality is that the family of addicts suffers too. After all, addiction is a family disease. A parent, child, spouse, sibling, cousin, relative, or friend of a drug addict may feel just as helpless about their loved one’s addiction as the addict themselves. Just like how a recovering addict will need to learn new, healthy ways of coping with issues in life, the family of addicts will need to as well.
How Can the Family of Addicts Cope?
There are many different emotions that the family of addicts may experience both during their loved one’s addiction and in the beginning of their recovery all the way throughout their recovery. So, how can the family of addicts cope with these intense feelings of anger, fear, frustration, and sadness?
Learn about the Disease of Addiction
First and foremost, it is critical for the family of addicts to get educated on the disease that their loved one has: the disease of addiction. If your loved one had any other illness, wouldn’t you want to know as much as you could about it? A drug addiction shouldn’t be any different. There are many behaviors, signs, and resources that you should familiarize yourself with. The more you can learn about addiction, the better and more prepared you may feel.
Be Active in Your Loved One’s Treatment
It’s also important to remember that your loved one is suffering from a disease and as a result, they may not be acting how they might otherwise act. Addiction impacts addicts on a mental, spiritual, and physical level. Their judgment is also affected, and you may even find yourself wondering who the person is that your loved one has become. If your loved one is seeking treatment to recover from addiction, then they are headed on the right path, which is why you will want to be as supportive as you can for their recovery. You can be supportive of their recovery by visiting them while they are in treatment, writing letters to them, and attending the family therapy sessions that may be offered at their treatment center. This engagement and support will ultimately help them during the process of their recovery.
To cope with your loved one’s addiction, you may find it helpful to go to a support group for yourself. You may want to be surrounded my other mothers, fathers, spouses, siblings, relatives, or close friends that are struggling with a loved one’s drug addiction. This type of support may help you pull through difficult times during your loved one’s recovery or even while they are in denial during active addiction.
12 Step Fellowships
In addition to support groups, you may want to try going to a 12 Step Fellowship too. You may want to sit in on an open Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous meeting so that you can better understand what your loved one is going through and how they can recover. There are also specific 12 Step Fellowships that may be particularly helpful to what you are going through as the family of an addict. Al-Anon and Nar-Anon are fellowships for the family of addicts and alcoholics.
Invest Time for Yourself
It’s also necessary for you to make time for yourself. Dealing with a loved one’s addiction can be exhausting, and it is important that you take care of yourself. Keep yourself active, hydrated, and engaged in activities that you enjoy, when you can of course. You may want to pick up a new hobby so that you can relax and have that important time for yourself too.
Seek Professional Help If Necessary
Other times, 12 Step Fellowships, support groups, or knowledge may not be effective for certain situations you may find yourself in as a result of your loved one’s addiction to drugs. Your loved one’s addiction may leave you feeling depressed or anxious, and you may want to speak to a professional yourself. There is no shame in getting help, and it’s actually encouraged to use all of the resources available to you. If you are struggling or just want to talk, then you may want to consider speaking to a therapist or psychiatrist. There are some issues that may need professional attention, and you need to take care of yourself too.
Addiction is a family disease. All of the addict’s loved ones become affected, and each loved one should work on developing tools to cope as well as begin utilizing resources to cope appropriately. Fortunately, there are many ways to deal with a loved one’s addiction, including some of which is listed above, and thankfully, there is treatment for drug addiction. If your loved one is struggling with an addiction to drugs, then it is critical that they get the help they need. Your loved one and you deserve to be free from the disease of addiction.
The Watershed Addiction Treatment Programs understands that addiction is a family disease and treats it as such. With The Watershed’s full continuum of care for the treatment of addiction, addicts can and DO recover. Call The Watershed for help today at 1-800-861-1768.Tags: Addiction, coping skills, drug addiction, family disease