THE ROLE OF FAMILY AND FRIENDS IN RECOVERY
- June 23, 2018
While we often focus on the effects of substance abuse on the person using, it can have just as great an impact on their family and friends. This is true in recovery as well, and a close support system can play a critical role in long-term success.
If you’re trying to convince someone else to seek help, it’s important to remember to be supportive and patient. Whether they make the decision on their own or an intervention is required, be clear that you’re all in it together. Recovery is a long road, and there may be setbacks. Understand that your friend or loved one may not be cured, even if they stay clean for months or years. It might be difficult to let go of grudges, especially if the user has broken your trust or caused financial difficulties, and rebuilding your relationship will take time and effort. Family therapy can be helpful in this situation.
Family members or roommates may have to make significant lifestyle changes in order to support recovery. For example, you might have to maintain a completely alcohol-free home, at least in the early days. Your commitment to the process is just as important as that of the person with the disorder. Remember to take the time to care for yourself, and consider joining a support group such as Al-Anon or Nar-anon, where you and other people in similar situations can talk to a professional therapist and develop strategies to help others.
Unfortunately, sometimes it will be necessary for an addict to remove themselves from temptation or bad situations, which might mean finding other people to live with or even moving to a new neighborhood. There are genetic and environmental factors to addiction, and if your family has been supporting your addiction or adding to your stressors, recovery is going to be much harder. Learn to spot enablers, such as people who give you money, lie for you, or use drugs or alcohol in your presence. If you can’t cut your enabler out of your life completely, there are some other steps you can take to deal with them. Limit your time spent with that person, or make sure that your interactions are supervised. Set clear boundaries. Encourage them to seek help for themselves, either for their own substance use problems or negative behavior.
If you find yourself without family or friends to depend on, there are still ways to develop a support system. Talk to a counselor or join a group of your peers. If you’re religious, going to church can be an excellent way to form a new “family.”
No matter your situation, Asana Recovery is here to help. Our residential treatment offers a safe, distraction-free place to heal, and provides counseling and individual and group therapy. If you do have supportive loved ones, family therapy can provide you with the best methods to succeed. We can also refer you to support groups when it’s time to leave. Call us at (949) 438-4504 to find out if our program is right for you.