June 2018 - Hader Clinic Queensland

Addiction Support: the Dos and Don’ts

Addiction and recovery is a family journey. Your loved one must do the hard work of rehabilitation and regaining control of their life but family and friends providing addiction support is an important part of the process.

It’s a difficult time for everyone involved. You may think you know what’s best for your loved one’s recovery, but here are some tips to help everyone get the most out of the process.

Addiction support: What not to do

Don’t use guilt
Guilt and shame are part of the addiction cycle and will not help your loved one’s rehabilitation. Making your loved one feel bad about their addiction may drive them back to drugs or alcohol to cope with their guilt and shame. Being open to the recovery process is more helpful and will show your loved one you want them to succeed.

Don’t blame yourself
Your loved one has made choices that have lead them to addiction. Blaming yourself takes away the responsibility of the addict. Accepting responsibility for their own actions is a vital part of rehabilitation and recovery. It’s easy to think you should have done more to help your loved one in their time of need. Blaming yourself helps no one. Participating in family therapy or setting healthy boundaries are more useful.

Don’t do everything
Your loved one needs a sense of responsibility for their life to start their recovery journey. Having a sense of purpose contributes to self-worth and self-esteem. There’s a difference between enabling and supporting. Let your loved one deal with the responsibilities of their life and succeed on their own terms.

Don’t punish or bribe
Addiction is its own punishment. Preaching about the things they should have done, reminding them of problems, or threatening to withdraw support is unhelpful. Your loved one will deal with their actions as part of their rehabilitation. By focusing on the future and their health, you can support their recovery.

Addiction support: What to do

Do listen and learn
Learn about addiction and recovery and take the time to let your loved one talk. Opening up can be difficult, especially to those who have been hurt by their actions, but listening to your loved one can also help you both heal. Your loved one will know that you care and you can support them through difficult times. Understanding the process of addiction and recovery can give you the tools to support your loved one and yourself through rehabilitation.

Do participate
Taking part in the rehabilitation process can be valuable for family members. Addiction affects the whole family so it’s important everyone takes part in the recovery process. Attending family therapy and individual counselling will help you understand what’s happening and show your loved one you support their recovery.

Do think about yourself
Take care of your own physical and mental wellbeing. Worrying about your loved one can take a toll and it’s easy to put your own needs on the backburner. But taking the time to eat well, exercise, socialise and attend support groups is vital to taking care of both you and your loved one.

More information

Establishing Family Boundaries
5 Ways to Support a Loved One with Addiction

Support groups

If you are looking for a support group to provide more addiction support, please consider:
Al-Anon
Alcoholics Anonymous
Narcotics Anonymous
Nar-anon

Establishing Family Boundaries

As much as addiction takes an emotional and often financial toll on the whole family, it affects everyone in a unique way. No two people will have the same addiction experiences or identical journeys to recovery.

Addicts can be manipulative and take advantage of those around them to get what they want.

When a loved one’s addiction has been the centre of attention for a long time, it can be difficult for family members to respect and recognise the importance of personal boundaries.

Know your limits

We know seeing a loved one struggle with addiction is distressing. It’s natural to want to support your loved one but giving them money or letting them get away with bad behaviour may be enabling their addiction.

People in active addiction can be volatile and unpredictable. As the parent or partner of an addict, trying to be supportive without understanding addiction can get you into hot water and even debt. It’s normal to be angry, scared or confused about what is happening and it’s ok to ask for help.

At the Hader Clinic QLD we can provide support to recognise family issues caused by or contributing to the current situation, understand what your loved one is going through, and know how you can offer love without enabling addiction.

We can also support you with a family intervention to start your loved one on their journey to recovery.

Set realistic goals and expectations

Addiction and recovery are very personal experiences.

Through counselling and therapy an addict will confront their own behaviour and start to accept responsibility. This process takes time. For many addicts the process is repeated throughout different stages of life and recovery.

Recognising that recovery is a journey with no set timeframe is important for all members of the family.

It’s essential for your loved one ,and for your own sake, to set realistic expectations and goals. They may be to do with family life, such as sharing a weekly meal, or to do with the process of recovery, like attending a certain number of support group sessions each week.

Our family therapy sessions can help you establish and maintain healthy family boundaries and agree on a plan of action if things go wrong.

Recognise your own trauma

Addiction affects everyone in the family so it’s not only the addict who needs support.

Family therapy and individual counselling can help you identify family issues related to your loved one’s addiction.

Family therapy can help individual members of the family understand the personal effect of addiction and work through the recovery process. It allows you to talk openly with a professional and supportive counsellor about the impact of your loved one’s addiction on your relationship with them and on your life.

Remember, it’s natural to be concerned about your loved one and to be uncertain about what will happen in the future.

Recognising the affect of addiction on everyone in the family will help you to move forward and in time rebuild your family relationships.

More information

5 Ways to Support a Loved One with Addiction
Nature or Nature? What Causes Addiction?
Family Issues
Family Therapy

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