If someone you love is going through recovery, chances are that you want to be there to help them in any way possible. People who have a support system in place are more likely to be successful at every stage in their recovery. Trying to figure out how you can act as part of that support system may be overwhelming, as you may feel at a loss as to which specific actions you can take to help your loved one.
There are dozens of different ways of helping your loved one for you to consider during this time. Know that this is not an easy road for anyone involved and that each person’s recovery journey is unique. The very fact that you are here, searching for ways to be there for your loved one during their time of need, is a noble step in the right direction. We hope that these tips can help you find effective ways to be a shining light for an individual who is struggling with addiction or mental health.
Communication Is Key
Going through recovery may be one of the darkest times of a person’s life. They can feel an abundance of negative emotions that may have been repressed for years. Upon confronting their problems with substance abuse, your loved one might be experiencing strong feelings of shame and guilt. Talk with them. Let them know that you’re going to be there throughout all of the turbulence. A person who’s struggling with issues relating to substance abuse or mental health can feel overly judged because of their disorder. Create a safe space for them that lacks judgment and encourages them to be open with you.
Keep It Clear and Simple
If you know your loved one is struggling with their recovery, let them know that you’re there to help. Some individuals may feel like a burden upon their friends and family and will refuse to ask for help even when they need it most. Continue to remind them that you want to help. Make clear and simple statements expressing your desire to support them, such as “I want you to be here to help you” and “let me be the one you call when you’re feeling sad.”
Discuss Your Supporting Role
Again, most people in recovery do not want to ask for help. If someone spent years abusing drugs or alcohol and engaging in behaviors they are ashamed of, especially behaviors that once brought pain to their loved ones, they may be so full of self-loathing that asking for help from the same people they once hurt is simply not an option. Take the initiative to speak frankly with them about what their needs are and how you can help meet them. Helping can be as simple as listening to them, showing them affection during a breakdown, or making them a meal when they feel depressed. Being helpful can also include things like going with them to medical appointments or reminding them to take their medications. It is a good idea to come to a mutual agreement about what your role is going to be in the recovery of your loved one.
Educate Yourself On Recovery
The more knowledgeable you are about the process of recovery, the more helpful you can be. If a person is in recovery due to an addiction or a mental health disorder, make the effort to seek out reputable resources for learning more about what they’re going through, so you can best understand how you can help promote a healthy recovery.
Focus On The Person, Not The Illness
During the process of recovery, a person can become overwhelmed with self-doubt and forget who they once were – the healthy version of themselves they aspire to become again. Throughout their recovery, it is important for your loved one to reclaim their talents, recommit to their goals, and remember the dreams that they set aside because of their illness. Remind them of their unique personal strengths. Their illness should not be what defines them; it is just one part of who they are, and a part that they’ll soon be able to look back on from the vantage point of recovery.
Try your best to keep in regular contact. Checking up on your loved one even in small ways can go a great distance for showing them you’re there. When discussing what your role will be during your loved one’s recovery process, it’s also beneficial to set a schedule for how often you are going to be available to them. Promising to be available 24/7 can take a toll on anyone, but if you make this promise, be sure to follow through. You want to earn the trust of the person you love.
Don’t Forget About Yourself
We cannot help others if we are not in a healthy and stable place ourselves. Make sure to take time off to cater to your needs. Indulge in the hobbies and self-care exercises that help you relieve stress. Without doing so, you might start to experience “caregiver stress”: the effect of being overwhelmed by the long-term stress that someone can feel due to caring for another person. Seek balance in your approach to ensure a healthy transition period for both of you.
Watching a loved one struggle through their recovery is painful. There is often an immediate reaction to reach out and help in any way possible. At times you may not know how to help the person you love, especially in sensitive situations like recovery. There are plenty of ways you can help your family member or friend during their recovery journey. Being a part of a support system for someone who is recovering from addiction or mental health disorder can bring on a large amount of stress. It’s important to remember to take care of them and of yourself in balance. Providing a healthy and stable outlet is one of the most important things you can do for your loved ones. The individual in recovery is in a vulnerable state and needs dependable support. If you need assistance to learn more about how you can give healthy support to your loved one, reach out to Everlast Recovery Centers. Call us at 866-DETOX-25.