Addiction recovery is a long-term process and a highly-individualized one at that. No one person’s recovery journey will be identical to another’s, and as a family member or friend of an addicted loved one, it’s important to remember that you play a vital role in this process.
Although you cannot make decisions and life choices for your loved one, there are several things you can do to support them as they learn to embrace a lifestyle of sobriety. If you have a loved one who is a recovering alcoholic, here are five things you can do to provide personal support and encouragement on a daily basis.
1. Remove all alcoholic beverages from your home.
If your loved one will be transitioning out of a sober living home and moving back home soon, you may want to remove all the alcoholic beverages from your home. If you don’t want to get rid of them completely, you can always store them in a safe location away from your home, such as a storage unit or a locked cellar. Removing these substances from the living environment will make it easier for your loved one to resist temptation. It will also provide a safe, supportive, and sober place where he or she can focus on rebuilding his or her life.
2. Join a support group for families.
Facing the disease of addiction as a family is not an easy thing to do. Addiction burrows its way into all aspects of family life and causes severe turmoil and conflict. While your loved one is enrolled in a transitional housing program, it’s important for you and your loved ones to find outlets for personal support. There are plenty of support groups that are designed to help family members of addicted loved ones. These groups provide opportunities to connect with other individuals in similar situations, offer a safe place for family members to express their anger, frustration, and hurt, and give individuals a chance to improve their communication skills. If you’re interested in joining a local support group, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence suggests checking out one of the following organizations.1
- Al-Anon Family Groups
- Nar-anon Family Groups
- CoDA (Co-Dependents Anonymous)
- ACA (Adult Children of Alcoholics)
3. Avoid enabling behaviors.
In rehab, your loved one learned the importance of taking responsibility for his or her actions. As he or she continues the recovery process with a transitional housing program, it is very important that you let your loved one assume his or her own responsibilities. Although you may feel like you are helping or taking care of your loved one by solving all of their problems, you may actually be enabling and encouraging the negative behaviors that contributed to their addiction in the first place.2 It’s not always easy to watch a loved one struggle, but by stepping in and doing things for them all the time, you are actually hindering their recovery process and making it more difficult for them to learn how to live an independent, sober life.
4. Be intentional about your words and actions.
Physical and verbal support can be just as encouraging and helpful as attending family counseling sessions or paying for a sober living program. You may choose to provide verbal support by verbalizing the fact that you are proud of the choices and lifestyle changes your loved one is making to better him or herself. If you’re not comfortable vocally expressing this, you can always write a letter or a short note and give it to your loved one. You can also show your ongoing support with your actions. If your loved one needs a ride to his or her support group meeting, make time to take him or her if possible. If your loved one needs help filling out a job application or updating a resume, make it a priority to be available and help. These actions will show your loved one that you are there to provide support, encouragement, and accountability throughout their recovery process.
5. Be a good example.
One of the best things you can do to support your loved one is to be a good example. Whether you like it or not, you are a role model for your loved one and he or she will be influenced by your words and actions. Here are a few ways you can be a good example for your loved one in recovery:
- Be mindful of your own drinking habits or don’t drink at all.
- Practice healthy self-care by eating nutritious meals, exercising regularly, and getting at least eight hours of sleep every night.
- Regularly attend your family support group meetings or individual therapy sessions.
- Volunteer or be an active part of your community.
- Treat others with kindness and respect.
Addiction recovery is primarily supported through healthy relationships and social support networks.3 Family members of recovering alcoholics are essential to the recovery process and can provide the support and encouragement an individual needs to maintain his or her sobriety on a long-term basis.
At Eudaimonia Recovery Homes, we believe family involvement is very important for our clients’ recovery. Our transitional living programs are designed to involve family members and loved ones in every aspect of our programs with regular progress reports, reliable drug and alcohol test results, and access to your loved one’s Program Coordinator.
If you’d like to learn more about our sober living homes and other potential ways you can support your loved one while he or she is enrolled in a transitional housing program, please contact Eudaimonia Recovery Homes today.