Addiction is never a laughing matter. It is a horrible moment in somebody’s life when they are completely ruled by one thing; where their entire life revolves around that one facet, and everything like hygiene, friends, family, and work, take a backseat.
Addiction can come in many forms and phases, from alcohol to drugs, and even gambling. Each can have very destructive effects on your life. You end up constantly looking for that next high; you sink into lower depths of depravity.
Addiction is a vicious cycle. Once you are trapped, you will struggle to escape. It does not help that as human beings we are creatures of habit, repeating learned behaviour, often to our detriment, only because we are familiar with it. Familiarity can be comforting. And yet, it can be crippling.
We have created some helpful tips for those of you who are living with somebody who has come out of rehab for addiction, and who might be struggling. Because that first step onto the road of recovery can always be the hardest one. You try to break that pattern of routine, one of two key points where your loved ones will need support.
Talk about the problem
The first step is to make yourself available for conversations about recovery. It is fine to speak about addiction. It cannot be allowed to grow into some poisonous taboo that should be swept under the rug and avoided at all costs.
According to Brett Lieberman, therapist at luxurybeachrehab.com, Luxury Beach Rehab in Florida, talking about it establishes that it is OK for the person you are helping to talk about their pain instead of bottling it up. Discussion allows them to reflect on their actions and past traumas.
Rehab clinics ask their patients to partner up with a mentor who has been through relatively similar problems. This method frees patients to speak in an empathetic environment, thus sharing their pain, and it might even speed up the recovery process.
Understand the challenge
The next tip we have to offer is to make sure that you understand how difficult the process that they are going through is, and to not unintentionally enable them to access drugs or alcohol again.
Enabling may help the recovery process, but it also prevents the addict from seeing the negative consequences of their addiction. Recovery is all about acceptance of one’s actions.
Like when we were young and learned to not shove our hands onto a hot surface, so too should an addict learn that their actions are only going to be detrimental to them.
Create a safe environment
Next is the removal of temptation. To ensure that there is no further relapse, make sure that your friend or family member who struggles with their addiction has no route to physically fall back into familiar behaviour, because if they do, it could be too late for you to be able to help them.
This can come in many forms, from removal of phone and internet privileges, to taking them to a relatively remote area for them to dry out and sober up for an extended period of time, fully detoxing themselves and hopefully promoting a more positive aspect of their behaviour.
Develop their new recreational space
You should also help them establish some sort of coping mechanism for whenever they have a slip and start feeling the urge to relapse.
They might try to rationalise it as “just once”, or something to “help them through a hard time”. Prevent this by introducing something else for them to focus on.
Either a new hobby or something like playing a game or listening to music; the options are near limitless. It all boils down to their own personal preferences.
You also have to remain available at all times for them, should they require somebody to talk to, because we have all had those moments where we have had or are currently going through a tough time, and having no one to talk to is horrible. If you are a recovering addict, these effects are multiplied almost tenfold, so put yourself in their shoes and take a few minutes of your day to chat to them.
In the end, it is all about support and showing that you are there for them. Do this, and you will discover that your loved one will have a speedy and safe recovery from their addiction.
Contributing Author Bio
Amanda Smith has been a rehabilitation therapist for over twenty years. She has worked for numerous rehab centers over the years and has extensive experience in the field. She believes that true rehabilitation should come from the inside, while receiving a lot of help from the outside.