Alcohol addiction is a curse that not only takes a toll on the addict’s health and wellness but also disturbs their domestic and social life. Beyond just affecting the person who is addicted, it can have a far-reaching impact on their relationships with family, friends, and colleagues. However, these are the people who can help and support them in trying to kick the habit. In fact, it may not even be possible if the addict tries to quit drinking without the support from family and friends that would give them the strength and conviction needed to give up alcohol.
If you are a friend or a loved one of someone undergoing treatment for alcohol addiction, here are some things that you can do to help.
Understand that treatment Is a Journey
Addiction has no quick fix treatment that can give relief in just a few days or months since it is a chronic problem. As a friend, spouse, or family member, it is essential to understand that recovery from addiction is a lifelong commitment because relapse can happen even to the most dedicated people. There is a need to take one day at a time, yet focus on long term recovery, both for the addict as well as from loved ones. Supporting them through their journey can make all the difference.
Expecting that the alcoholic will be cured after a phase of treatment would be unrealistic. Instead, you need to be vigilant through the process, but this has to be done without being obtrusive. Assure the addict that you trust them fully and are there to listen. There may be issues related to financial difficulties, regaining steady employment, rebuilding relationships, and ongoing health problems. Offer the alcoholic help when needed and stand firm by their side.
Ensure that They Stick to All Treatment Recommendations
Treatment for an alcohol use disorder involves an integrated approach, which usually is comprised of pharmacological treatment in addition to counseling, group therapy, and vocational rehabilitation. The treatment protocol is generally personalized, depending on the needs of the patient. Additionally, there are proven methods such as the Sinclair Method Alcohol Treatment, which involves the use of craving-limiting medications to curb drinking gradually but surely.
Whichever treatment plan has been devised for your loved one, make sure that they stick to it stringently as they will probably require support during the treatment and follow up as well. Keep track of the alcoholic’s medication schedules and appointments and offer to accompany them. Stay in touch with their rehab team. Moreover, the addict may feel unmotivated and demoralized at any point in the treatment. Your role can be critical for motivating them and helping them face these tough times.
Create a Positive Environment
Getting treated and coming out sober is just half the battle for addicts. The real test begins when they come back and have to face their demons; this is the time when friends and family can offer support. To start with, give the alcoholic a positive environment and implement lifestyle changes for yourself as well. Primarily, it would help if you abstained yourself because the addict should not be anywhere near alcohol during early recovery.
Creating a healthy, alcohol-free environment ensures that the addict will not fall into the vicious circle again. The initial days of recovery can be particularly challenging because this is the time when the chances of relapse are the highest. However, unwavering support and encouragement from loved ones can help the addicts to sail through smoothly.
Find Support for Yourself as Well
Being with an addict who is on the path of getting treatment for their disorder can be exhausting for the friends and family. The need for help is not confined only to addicts but also for those who stand by them. So make sure that you prioritize your own needs as well. To start with, take good care of your health because you should be physically fit to take care of someone battling with addiction. Learn to avoid self-blame because you cannot be responsible for someone else’s life.
Joining a support group helps because it allows you to share your problems with others going through the same situation. Talk to a professional therapist for counseling and support. Remember that you need to be strong enough to be able to help your loved one come out sober and live a healthy life once again.
Reduce Stress as Much as You Can
Stress is regarded as a significant factor in addiction recovery and can even lead to relapse if not caught early enough. Moreover, it is not just the addict who has to face stress; family and friends also have to cope with it. Therefore, you need to understand that working on stress reduction is as essential a part of the recovery plan as taking care of physical issues.
Acknowledge the problems that are bound to be there rather than sweeping them under the carpet. There will be financial challenges, relationship issues, workplace problems, and health concerns to deal with, but being stressed out will not help. Encourage the adoption of coping mechanisms such as exercise, meditation, and journaling for the addict and adopt them yourself as well.
Remember that addiction recovery involves teamwork, and your role as a friend or family member is as important as the determination of the addict. Being there for them throughout their journey is the best thing you can ever do for them.