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4 Tips For Living With Someone in Addiction Recovery

By on Oct 16, 2015 in Addiction, Blog, Recovery

Addiction affects more than the person who is addicted. After your loved one has gotten sober and returned home from addiction treatment, continuous sobriety and recovery become important parts of their life. Learn some helpful tips to help you support your loved one and yourself.

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  1. Recognize that while addiction is not your fault, you too have been directly affected by addiction.
    Many times, a family member or friend of someone recovering from addiction will say things like, “I’m not the one with the problem” or, “They’re the one who needs help.” But if you’re close to someone who has struggled with addiction, you are suffering from that addiction, too. You may feel anger and resentment. You may feel the need to punish, control, or try to “fix” your loved one. It seems counterintuitive, but the best thing you can do for someone in recovery is let them work their program. Provide support, but don’t interfere.
  2. You are not in control, and you don’t need to be.
    Many family members try to control their addicted loved one. If you haven’t encountered addiction before, you’ll soon learn that forcing someone who is suffering from addiction to follow rules won’t get you very far. This remains true in recovery. Yes, it’s important to set boundaries, but it’s also important to listen to and honor your loved one’s boundaries. The going may feel slow at times, but that’s okay. You’re moving forward. One day at a time doesn’t seem like very much, but days become weeks, weeks become months, and you know the rest.
  3. Other people know what you’re going through and want to help. 
    No matter what kind of program your loved one is working, there’s one for you too. Admit when you need help with the emotions you may be feeling or with your relationships. Therapy helps, support groups help, talking to someone familiar with your situation helps. Family support groups, such as Al-anon, exist for the same reasons addiction support groups do: they work. The most important thing about these programs is the accumulated experience of those involved. People with years of experience in the program are there to help guide newcomers. It’s hard to walk through that door for the first time, but everyone in that room has done it. The most amazing thing is when you hear someone get up and share your story. When you see the happiness and love in the room, realize that you, too, can find this no matter how difficult your situation is. 
  4. Give your loved one space to work.
    It can be difficult to step back, but living with someone in addiction recovery can be stressful enough without having to monitor their every move. That’s what their program is for, and through your own support group and recovery program, you can learn the concept of “detaching with love.” It can be difficult to step back, but the key to success is cooperation. You can’t get dialysis to fix someone else’s kidneys, you can’t get chemo to cure someone else’s cancer, and you can’t go to rehab to cure someone else’s addiction. Give your loved one the space they need to find their way.

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