Addiction is a family disease. Substance use disorders affect not only the lives of the person with the dependency, but all of those nearest and dearest to that person. Thus, the addiction recovery process influences those closest as well.
Take comfort in the fact that addiction is a treatable disease, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse. This does not mean that the road to recovery is smooth sailing. The beginning phases of addiction recovery can prove the most challenging for all involved. Take a few moments to learn how families can help a loved one who is battling a substance use disorder during these challenging early stages.
There is no one standard way to prepare for the early stages of addiction recovery. It is as individualized as the person, and no two experiences will be the same. However, there are some preparations families can make to be best equipped to handle your loved one’s addiction recovery process.
First, remember that patience is key. Addiction recovery is filled with raw emotion, anxiety, stress, guilt, anger, sadness, and desperation. As your loved one goes through these emotions, you and your family will as well. Take a deep breath and remember to take one day at a time.
Being self-aware and being prepared to practice empathy is another helpful way to prepare for the early stages of addiction recovery. Your family will be dealing with your own emotions regarding the substance use disorder and it can be easy to want to confront those feelings with your recovering loved one. Try to make empathy a priority and imagine what that person is experiencing in these early phases, particularly during withdrawal. Being supportive in every way possible is paramount.
Your loved one in addiction recovery will be working with a mental health professional in these initial stages of treatment to understand how substance misuse has taking dominant control over every aspect of life. This harsh reality is, in itself, “a tough pill to swallow”. The best thing you can do is to be there for your loved one to keep instilling hope. Remember that hope has the power to sustain people through even the most trying of times and that there can never be enough reassurance during the challenging early phases of addiction recovery.
Washington State addiction treatment resources are always available throughout the addiction recovery process to provide assistance to your family and recovering loved one. The mental health professionals on staff are capable of providing guidance to families as well as the person in addiction recovery to better facilitate a cohesive environment for long-term addiction recovery. Learn more about our state-of-the-art residential treatment facility and how your whole family can begin the journey to healing there.