When someone has a substance use disorder, it’s easy to get caught up in the drama and chaos of their behavior. Whatever stage of the process they’re at, there is a lot to learn about how to support an individual in recovery. One of the most important things to remember is that you cannot control another person’s recovery—the only person who can decide whether to recover or not is the individual. You can make suggestions and offer support, but ultimately it is up to them how they want to live. When you support someone in treatment, you provide them with an extra layer of protection against relapse and build their skills to stay sober. Your support can also make the difference between success and failure in their recovery journey. Here are some tips:
Don’t be afraid to talk about recovery
Recovery is a process that takes time, so don’t expect your loved one to be completely sober immediately after leaving treatment. It may take months or even years before they are ready to stop using drugs or alcohol on their terms. Discussing those struggles openly is essential so your loved one doesn’t feel they have to hide them from you.
Talk about your own experiences with addiction and recovery. When you share your story, it shows that you care. It also encourages your loved ones to share their story with you. You can also use this time to learn more about addiction and what it means for your loved one. Make sure you have a healthy dialogue about your concerns with them so that you can work together toward a common goal.
Get involved with 12-step groups if appropriate
You may have heard about Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), and other similar groups that meet regularly for people in recovery from drugs and alcohol. If your loved one has decided to attend 12-step meetings, you should also consider joining them. This will allow you to become familiar with the program and learn more about your loved one.
It also shows that you are willing to support them in their journey toward sobriety. There are many different types of 12-step groups available, including Al-Anon (for friends and family members), Nar-Anon (for friends and family members of addicts), Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), and Narcotics Anonymous (NA). These groups are free and offer great resources for those who need help dealing with the effects of addiction on their lives.
Offer to be a sponsor
If the person you care about has decided to try and make changes in their life, they may need support from people outside of their family or friends. A sponsor has been through the program themselves and helped others work through their addiction issues. The relationship between sponsor and sponsee is intimate because it involves trust and sharing on both sides.
This could include helping them with tasks such as going to counseling sessions and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, checking on them when they’re feeling vulnerable, or having conversations about their recovery challenges. They also provide a listening ear and offer a nonjudgmental perspective on the challenges of early recovery. Sponsoring someone is an ongoing relationship that can last for years. It’s not an easy job, but it’s not complicated either.
You should be prepared for your relationship with the person you’re sponsoring to change over time — for better or for worse — as they work their way through the 12 steps and make progress in their recovery. If you’re not sure whether or not you’d be good at being a sponsor, don’t worry — it’s one thing that gets easier over time as long as you’re willing to keep practicing.
Helping others isn’t easy, but it’s the right thing. The important thing is this: you don’t need to have all the answers, and you don’t need to fix everything (usually, people can’t). All you need to do is be there for them. Don’t ever underestimate the power of your support. Recovery is difficult for any individual, and knowing that someone cares about you can help push you over the hill. Therefore, call us today at 833-497-3808 and get the help you need!