Recovery from drug addiction is an arduous journey and never ending process. It demands a level of love, support and understanding which can prove extremely difficult for most families to provide. After all, addicts have proven time and again to be difficult people to live with. Their seemingly self-absorbed and destructive lifestyles can leave the people around them in a state of painful disarray.
It is, however, crucial to the recovery of every addict to have a solid network of support to lean on in his/her time of need. One of the first steps to ensuring your loved one has the best shot at long term recovery is ridding drugs and alcohol from the living space they’ll be occupying. This is done to reduce the risk of inciting triggers for relapse. While it is true that the decision to use is ultimately up to the addict, it is important to realize the dangerous effects triggers can represent. So much so that having the occasional beer or having narcotic prescription medications out in the open may hold the power to realign the recovering addict’s thought process towards using.
Another measure that can be implemented to reduce the risk of relapse is setting clear, yet reasonable, boundaries for the recovering addict in your life. Keep in mind, addicts are generally highly opinionated and manipulative people and may be deterred by what comes across as a demand. Therefore, it is imperative to the effectiveness of the boundaries you establish to ensure your loved one sees this as something that would be mutually beneficial to both of you. Remember, the keys to any healthy relationship are communication and compromise. You want to find a middle ground, wherein both parties can feel comfortable. For instance, parents may want to maintain a close watch on their children, while the addict desires complete freedom. Middle ground can be found here wherein the parents are provided regular updates, while allowing the addict to maintain an overall sense of freedom and autonomy. If practiced continuously, this will eventually instill a sense of trust and hope between the addict and their loved ones. One of the greatest benefits to long term recovery is rebuilding the vital foundation of the trust that has been lost.
Quite possibly, the most beneficial thing you can do to support someone through their recovery is to learn more about the disease of addiction. This can be accomplished through reading books, reading articles online, and attending support groups or twelve step meetings. The addicted mind is a difficult concept to grasp. However, learning as much as you can about the changes that take place in the brain, in the realms of physical structure, and thought processes may help you to better understand and identify with the addict in your life.