When your loved one is struggling with addiction, the best step they can take is to seek help. With professional support and guidance, they can complete their rehab program and take steps to a drug-free life. However, you might be concerned about providing the right type of support as well.
Fortunately, with the right approach, you can be there for your friend, partner, or family member without overstepping your own boundaries. Whether your loved one is in drug rehab in Toronto or an outpatient program in your small town, consider these basic guidelines for being a steady and helpful presence in their life.
DO educate yourself
Addiction is complicated, and you might feel overwhelmed by your loved one’s condition. This is why it’s essential to research the specific type of addiction that your loved one is facing. You can then understand how the addiction affects their life, what the withdrawal symptoms might be, and what happens within a recovery program. You can find this information online or ask the drug rehab center for specific resources. By taking the time to learn more about addiction, you can build the knowledge and tools necessary to truly support your loved one.
DON’T ignore your own boundaries
When your loved one is going through addiction and rehab, it’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits. This can include blaming yourself for your addiction, ignoring your own needs, or being available at any time of the day. However, remember that your loved one is in treatment for a reason and that is it not your responsibility to keep their recovery on track. By setting physical and emotional boundaries from the start, you can maintain your life and focus on responsibilities while your loved one recovers.
DO seek help for yourself
A therapist can help you put these boundaries in place and cope with your loved one’s addiction. There are many options available to support your own mental health during this time, including group counseling, individual therapy, and family counseling. These appointments or group counseling sessions will give you a safe space to voice your thoughts, process your emotions, and gain the tools needed to guide you through this challenging time.
Remember that your loved one is not looking for you to “fix” them while they are recovering. Often, those dealing with addiction simply want someone to listen. Reassure your loved one that you are available to talk anytime. When they come to you to talk, refrain from giving advice unless they specifically ask for it. Rather, eliminate distractions and listen with intention. Show empathy and reassure them of your support. This uninterrupted time will be invaluable as your loved one recovers.
DON’T create a triggering environment
Staying mindful of all triggers can be challenging, but you can remove some common triggers from your loved one’s environment. Especially if they live with you, remove all alcohol and other addictive substances from your home. Use a medication identifier to get rid of any unneeded medication. Refrain from inviting your loved one to parties and bars, and find other activities to do instead. Taking these steps can keep your loved one out of stressful and potentially harmful situations as they focus on recovery.
While you are not responsible for your loved one’s well being, you can provide support as they cope with this difficult time. Just be sure to stay firm in your boundaries and focus on your own self-care. By doing so, you will have the tools and energy to listen attentively and offer genuine empathy. Your loved ones will be grateful for your support as they move forward from addiction following their program.