The Best Ways to Support Someone Recovering From Alcoholism

Many people struggle with substance abuse disorders today. When they try to overcome their addiction, they need the support of those around them. Their loved ones often don't know how to provide that support.

Acknowledge the Impact This Disease Has On Loved One
The person with an addiction isn't the only one suffering from substance abuse. It affects those around them, too. When supporting a person with an addiction during their recovery, a person has to take care of themselves as well. This self-care will make it easier to help the person with a substance use disorder, as a person cannot pour from an empty cup.

Consider joining a support group for individuals helping loved ones overcome substance abuse issues. This group can provide support throughout the process. Look for local alcoholism rehab services and see if they can recommend support groups.

Addiction is a Disease
It's easy to become frustrated when an addict relapses or has a setback. Recognize that drugs and alcohol change the brain, and these changes persist even when the person quits using. If the person with an addiction relapses, consider stepping away for a bit. Do so without making them feel bad. They may not seek help after relapsing if they are made to feel ashamed of their behavior.

Learn More About Addiction
Many people don't understand addiction and the hold it has on a person. By learning more about this disease, a person can better support loved ones in recovery. Learn what leads to this disease, treatment options, what to say to the person, and more. Nagging and lecturing don't help, nor does bringing up the past.

Don't Withhold Love and Comfort
Loved ones often make statements that hurt the person with a substance use disorder and don't realize they are doing so. The person with an addiction worries they will be left behind. It falls on loved ones to remind them they are valued and they will have support as they move forward with recovering from the addiction.

Don't Enable the Addict
Support and enabling are two separate things. The addict must understand there are consequences to their actions. When loved ones step in and remove or minimize these consequences, the person with a substance use disorder can continue using. They need emotional and material support, but they also need to recognize that they are hurting others with their behavior. Withdraw financial support unless provided to help them achieve a healthy goal, such as continuing their education.

Let Them Talk About Their Mistakes
Addicts shouldn't have to hide their troubles. They must talk with others about their actions and learn to avoid temptation. Family and friends must be there to love and support them if they slip and recognize this relapse is another learning opportunity for them rather than a failure on their part.

A Lifelong Process
People need to realize that recovery is a lifelong process. A person who has a substance use disorder is never cured. There will be ups and downs, particularly in the first year of recovery. Only 33 percent of people with an addiction who are in the first year of recovery don't relapse. The other 67 percent do. When the person relapses, recognize this as a sign the current treatment isn't working, and other options should be explored.

Addicts can recover from a substance abuse disorder and live a full and healthy life. They need the support of loved ones to achieve this goal, and family and friends are often willing to provide this support. The tips outlined above help them do so. However, they should also speak with the person with an addiction to learn what additional support may be needed, as the addict knows better than anyone what will be of help to them.

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