1. Support Your Loved One’s Decision of Recovery
Support comes in many forms. It includes championing your loved one’s decision to seek treatment and celebrating their accomplishments both big and small while they’re working toward recovery. A good rule of thumb is to personalize the support of recovery and to depersonalize the nonsupport of the addiction. By personalizing your support of your loved one’s recovery, you are making a statement to them that you are there only to help them while they are doing the right thing. By depersonalizing the addiction and stating you will no longer support any behaviors that condone addiction or that will lead back to addiction, you are drawing a firm boundary about how your support will look. “I support you and your recovery, but I will no longer support addiction,” is an effective way to show support and draw this boundary. Also, be sure to keep reminding them that you are a resource for both help and support in their recovery.
2. Encourage Responsibility
While substance abuse stems from many factors, during the recovery period, encourage your loved one to hold themselves accountable for reaching their goals. Give honest feedback. Remind them of their goals and hopes for recovery, and that they can and should achieve them. It is equally important for your loved one to build an external support system as well. During the early days in Recovery, we are not always aware of when we fall into old behaviors that could lead us back to a relapse. This outside support system will help in recognizing old behaviors and patterns, as well as being able to offer guidance in moving forward through difficult times.
3. Don’t Give Up
The recovery process can be long, challenging, and far from linear. Expect moments of regression and prepare for the possibility of a relapse. Help your loved one keep moving forward toward their goal of sobriety, and do not lose hope as bumps along the road are to be expected. Recognizing that each challenge encountered is an opportunity for a positive, learning experience, even when there is a less than desirable outcome. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone. It is the attitude that follows, which is key to personal growth. No mistake is so large that you will be unable to get back on track. Overcoming these challenges are an essential part of the journey to long term recovery. Each time a person walks through a difficult situation and emerges successful or willing to make a change in their attitude or plans, self-confidence is built up. This self-confidence and the experience of being able to face adversity are fundamental in continuing on the path to recovery.