Help a family member in maintenance

Help a family member in maintenance

Help a family member in maintenance: Celebrate your loved one’s progress and praise them for all they have achieved. Overcoming addiction is perhaps the biggest challenge a person can face! Show your great respect and appreciate his efforts and accomplishments.

If he doesn’t already have one, now is the time to help your loved one develop a relapse prevention plan.

  • What strategies and tools can he use to maintain his abstinence over the long term?
  • An example of an effective tool is the Wagon app  , a relapse prevention plan on the phone – reminds each day to perform healthy activities, provides easy access to the most effective coping strategies, includes a journal to record the feelings and triggers felt each day, and track progress towards recovery goals.
  • Create a list of people he can turn to for help if he ever feels in danger of relapsing.
  • Help him to be clear about the steps he would take to get back on his feet if he relapsed.

Relapse is a learning opportunity, not a failure

Addiction is a chronic illness that can lead to brain disturbances that persist long after you stop using it. Research indicates that between 40% and 60% of people treated for addiction will relapse and start using again at some point after finishing their treatment.  How can you support your loved one if this happens?

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Your loved one should always take all possible precautions to minimize their chances of a relapse. However, if your loved one relapses, avoid judging them! Don’t see it as a failure and don’t be disappointed. Also, help your loved one see their relapse as a learning opportunity, not a failure, which will help them recover faster. It is essential to avoid shaming them, because shame is very counterproductive when trying to recover.

Help your loved one understand how and why their relapse happened and use these findings to develop new relapse prevention strategies so that their recovery is stronger in the future.

  • What were its triggers?
  • How could he have handled the situation more effectively?
  • What can he do to prevent a relapse when faced with similar situations in the future?
  • Design and write down new relapse prevention strategies.

As well as helping your loved one learn from their relapse, you also need to keep them accountable.

  • Help him develop a clearly defined plan to get back on his feet.
  • Help him practice new relapse prevention strategies and implement them in real situations.
  • Check in with him regularly to make sure he is following his plan and steadily making progress towards returning to his recovery.

Most people with addiction need professional treatment

Overcoming addiction is a very difficult process, and most people need professional help to be successful in their long-term recovery. Emphasize to your family member that getting help does not mean they are weak or incompetent. Explaining the following points to your loved one can help persuade them that getting professional help is often the best choice.

  • Addiction is a chronic and complex illness that affects different people in different ways.
  • One-size-fits-all solutions are not very effective in achieving lasting results.
  • Individualized treatment from experts is often required to achieve life-changing results.
  • Detoxification can be very uncomfortable, and in some cases, withdrawal symptoms can be life threatening. Medical supervision is therefore very important for detoxification.
  • People with addictions often have mental disorders and concomitant undiagnosed medical problems. A comprehensive treatment program can address all of these concerns at the same time, maximizing a person’s chances of a successful long-term recovery.

When your family member refuses to talk about their addiction

Recovery takes courage. By discussing their struggles with you and acknowledging that they have a problem, your loved one is making themselves very vulnerable. It can be incredibly frightening, especially for people in the pre-contemplation or contemplation phase. What can you do about it?

Get support for yourself

If your loved one’s addiction is causing you distress, you can seek help from a psychotherapist. Discussing your situation with a mental health professional can help you deal with the helplessness, frustration, and fear you feel as a result of your loved one’s addiction. You may also choose to proactively approach an addiction specialist who can give you additional advice on how best to help your loved one and motivate them to begin their healing process.

Set up an intervention

One intervention involves having your family member sit down for a conversation with the rest of the family, about how their addiction is negatively affecting them and everyone around them. This inevitably involves difficult and emotionally intense conversations. This is why you should hire a professional speaker to guide the conversation and make sure it is as productive as possible.

It’s their recovery – but you can make a big difference

Remember that lasting change takes time. Plus, no matter how hard you feel about your loved one’s addiction, you can’t force them to change. As the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water, but not force it to drink… Only your loved one can make the decision to change. Nonetheless, you have enormous potential to positively influence their healing process and help them succeed. One of the best approaches to helping a family member with an addiction is to recognize their current stage of change and to help them in the most effective way at that stage.

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