Recovery from alcohol addiction isn’t easy, and it’s even more difficult if you have a loved one who struggles with alcoholism. When they finally get help and start the process of recovery, it can be hard to figure out if there is any way that you can support them. The truth is that people in alcohol recovery need a good support system with friends, family, mental health professionals, and even groups. You can help your loved one through recovery by being patient, compassionate, and supportive. Here are 10 tips for supporting someone in the process of getting sober:
Do Your Research
Before your loved one leaves treatment, it’s important that you do some research. You want to know what signs of addiction and relapse look like so that you can recognize them when they start to happen. Perhaps you could help them look for treatment in Utah, Colorado, or one of the other surrounding states. It’s important to be aware of the resources available in case your loved one needs help. If they are behaving in dangerous ways, it’s important to call 911 if they are in danger or someone else is as a result of their behavior. This includes drinking and driving.
Have an Open Dialogue About Addiction
The first thing to do is reach out and ask how they are doing. This can be a good way to build bridges and make connections. Let them know that you are available to talk to them if they have struggles. Just keep checking in with them until they feel comfortable opening up about what’s going on in their life. Depending on their situation they could be having a hard time getting work, managing household tasks, or finding appropriate ways to relieve stress without having alcohol.
Be Patient and Compassionate With Your Loved One
Patience is a virtue and also an important part of recovery. Patience requires understanding that the recovery process takes a while. People in recovery may not behave the way that you would expect. You can’t assume that your loved one is instantly sober and behaves in a new way all of a sudden. They need time to develop new habits and mindsets that will help them in recovery. Just be patient and compassionate with them.
Limit Exposing Them to Triggers
As a family member of a recovering addict, it can help to limit how much you expose them to triggers. Inviting them to events is still important, but maybe you could host some dry events so that they aren’t around a lot of alcohol temptations. Additionally, you may want to hang out, but instead of going back to your favorite bar together, you could enjoy a cup of coffee instead. While you can’t manage everything for them, you can help support them in atmospheres that will help them succeed in their sobriety.
Find Resources for Yourself and Your Family
Did you know that there are support groups for families of alcoholics? It’s important to go to these groups because you likely have your own experiences and emotions around what happened in your home as a result of their addiction. Some support groups are free and others run off of a nominal fee. These groups can be invaluable for you as you look for ways to support your addicted loved one in a healthy way.
Take Care of Yourself
When you are supporting a loved one in alcohol recovery, you also need a healthy dose of self care. It’s important not to be a martyr and do everything on your own. You need other people in order to make sure that the person who is suffering from addiction gets the help they need. You can take care of yourself through therapy, exercise, time to yourself, and having your own hobbies and interests.
Offer Support, Not Solutions or Ultimatums
When your loved one is in recovery, they need your support in the process of them trying to stay sober. However, it’s important that you don’t try to solve all their problems for them and tell them what to do. Instead of offering advice or ultimatums, offer support by listening and helping with practical tasks such as laundry or grocery shopping. Support will look different in every situation. For some it might mean a ride to appointments and for others it could be a weekly call just to check in.