Addiction happens to many people. It can be happening in your family right now without realizing it. When an addiction develops, family members and friends are also often directly impacted by the addiction. In order to help your family member It is important to understand addiction while also continuing to take care of your own health and to maintain healthy boundaries. This helps you provide the love and support the addicted person needs in order to heal.

Can-Am Interventions would like to share 10 tips that can help:

1. Learn as much as possible about addiction.

Educating ourselves can help usavoid the blame game that commonly happens. Rather than believing that the person’s addiction stems from weakness, willfulness, or stubbornness, it might be helpful to understand how it actually stems from changes within the brain. Understanding that addiction is not a choice might help you let go of anger and resentment you may be feeling about your loved one’s addiction.

2. Connect with understanding peers.

It’s not always easy to live with or support someone who has an addiction. As research points out, addiction in a close relative can serve as a stressful life situation that persists for years, and that long-term dysfunction can make it hard for families to communicate clearly. There can be a block of mistrust between every member of a family touched by the addiction.Connecting with peers can help, particularly if families use a well-established, trusted program like Al-Anon or Alateen. The goal of these programs is to provide help for families of those living with addiction. They also provide a safe, nonjudgmental space where family members can learn, discuss, and cope with an addiction unfolding in their midst. These groups can be helpful with:

  • Having fewer problems with the addicted person
  • Lowering levels of stress
  • Improving psychological health

These are lofty goals, but meetings really can help. By going to a meeting and listening to other family members, feelings of isolation and doubt may begin to fade. Families may also get the skills they need to better handle the interpersonal problems they’re facing. These meetings can help families learn how to deal with a loved one’s addiction.

3. Go to family therapy sessions.

Spouses, siblings and parents of people with addictions often absorb many of the consequences of their loved one’s substance use. Many people have a hard time talking openly about the behavior that’s harming them, so they say nothing. Family members can also become distant if they’re tired of fighting with their loved one. They may blamethemselves when the addiction persists or blame the addicted person for their unhappiness.These silences and blame games can hold a family back from getting help. Family members may not have the tools on their own to assist someone in active recovery, and they may not have the energy to help themselves.Family therapy programs are designed to break down distrust and guilt by giving everyone a chance to feel heard. These programs can help family members understand themselves and each other, and work through conflict in a healthy way.

4. Prepare meals and eat them as a family.

In today’s modern, chaotic world, it’s all too easy to eat separately. One partner grabs a burger on the way home, the other snacks on a salad at work and the kids heat up ready-made foods they can find in the freezer.A family meal allows everyone to reconnect at the end of a day that may have been stressful, lonely or upsetting. Each meal helps build upon the work done in family therapy, and the ritual of eating together can promote a sense of common ground and togetherness.The activity doesn’t have to stop at the table, either. Spending time making the meal together or cleaning up afterward can increase the benefits. Even one meal together per week can have a significant impact.

5. Manage expectations.

When a person enters addiction treatment and the family embarks on the recovery journey, the sense of hope everyone feels can be exciting. Finally, the addiction issue is being addressed. Finally, things will get better.Unfortunately, it can take a long time for the behaviors and patterns associated with addiction to really change. The person may hold on to old habits or become frustrated with the recovery process. Sometimes, that slow shift leads to disappointment.A relapse can be especially disheartening. In these moments, it can be helpful to remember that relapse does not mean failure for your loved one or for you. Addiction is a chronic disease, making relapse a normal part of recovery. While steps can be taken to help prevent a relapse, recovery is a lifelong journey of ups and downs, not a single event.It’s also important to manage expectations for yourself and other family members

6. Stay in touch with personal joy.

Managing expectations is a little easier when individuals are responsible for their own bliss. That means every member of a recovering family needs to take time to do something that’s relaxing and fulfilling. This could include:

  • Playing an instrument
  • Taking nature photographs
  • Volunteering with animals
  • Playing with children
  • Gardening
  • Cooking
  • Crafting

These activities and others like them can make the participant feel happy, preserve a sense of efficacy and worth, and help boost mental health

7. Get regular exercise.

Starting off the day with a brisk run or ending the workday with a few laps in the pool may not be every family’s idea of a great time, but these exercise sessions could deliver considerable benefits. Exercise has the proven ability to reduce stress and depression.Stretching muscles and pushing tendons prompts the brain to release so-called pleasure chemicals, including dopamine and oxytocin. High-energy exercise sessions can help families vent their worry and stress in healthy ways that don’t harm others and don’t cause lasting scars.

8. Adhere to a formal sleep/wake schedule.

Some of the more dangerous addictive behaviors often occur in the middle of the night. People with addictions can meet dealers, overdose, stumble home from parties or get into other situations that family members have to deal with. It’s no surprise, then, that some families in the recovery process struggle with sleep. Parts of their brains are ready and waiting for the next nighttime crisis to arise.Regular sleep loss can make the recovery process more difficult. Setting a consistent, adequate sleep schedule can help you get the rest you need to function your best and cope with the challenges of having a loved one with an addiction. 

9. Schedule private therapy sessions.

While lifestyle alterations can be a big help for families in crisis, addictions can cause deep wounds that often benefit from seeking professional help. Research has found that families of addicted people experience increased levels of depression and anxiety. Caregivers can feel worn out from everything they’re asked to do for their family member, and they may not have access to healthy coping skills. Siblings or children can feel forgotten or feel like they have to do better to make up for the addiction, leading to self-esteem issues.There’s no judgment or blame here — a private therapy session is a safe place for stressed family members to talk openly and work through issues.Private sessions typically follow a skills-based format, in which caregivers learn more about how to deal with destructive thoughts and habits developed during years of addictive behavior. They might learn to meditate to handle stress, or they might work on assertiveness skills. They might do group work involving anger management, or they might learn how to let go of codependent behaviors, so they won’t feel responsible for the poor choices of others. Family members who spend their time in these sessions may get the help they need in order to help others, and they may find the strength and resolve that’s been missing until now.

10. Educate and advocate.

There is an incredible amount of misinformation about addiction. To some people, addiction is a form of weakness, and they have no problem sharing their views, even in casual conversation. To others, addiction is something family members should either fix or ignore. Even when a family attempts to help their loved one, they are sometimes judged or labeled as “enabling.”Unfortunately, sometimes even the medical community can use language that promotes addiction stigma. Family members often feel harsh words or careless statements most acutely when they come from friends, co-workers and even distant relatives they see on a regular basis. It’s hard to stay positive in an environment like this, but families can be part of the change. They can share some of the knowledge they’ve learned from private research, support groups and therapy sessions and give their friends destigmatizing words to use instead.Advocating on behalf of people struggling with addiction is brave. It’s also a vital, empowering and health-affirming thing to do.

Finding help

Addiction is complicated. Seeking professional assistance is recommended to help families manage and treat addiction. Can-Am Interventions specializes in working with families to guide and council all people involved, as well to provide treatment options that will ensure achievable recovery. If you or someone in your family may be suffering from addiction, please call us today. We are here to help you.

For More Information:

E: patti.pike@canaminterventions.com W:www.canaminterventions.com

1-800-638-1812 Toll Free Internationally

415-827-3725 Cell /Text

415-578-2875 Office

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