It’s never easy to witness a loved one struggling with addiction or substance abuse. It’s can be heartbreaking and overwhelming trying to decide how to handle a person in your life facing these very difficult issues. It’s important to remember that everyone’s journey and experiences are different, but there are certain steps you can take to help on the road to recovery and understanding.
First and foremost, it is important to not point fingers or make judgments. Even if you don't understand someone’s choices, it is important to remember they are deserving of respect, dignity, and kindness in their own recovery. Be kind, but also honest and be aware of how your language may be perceived. Therapy, intervention, and support groups can all be beneficial outlets for individuals on the path to recovery and their loved ones.
It’s equally important to create a strong support system for the individual. This can mean family members, close friends, or people who have dealt with similar issues. It is important to remember that this process is not a sprint, but more like a marathon. Everyone needs encouragement and to know that recovery is possible. Different lifestyles and coping mechanisms should be explored as well. Eating healthy and exercising can help an individual cope with stress and improve their physical and mental health.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things to do while supporting a loved one is knowing when to step in. It can definitely be hard to know how much assistance is too much or when it’s time to start pushing. Each individual is different and it’s essential to understand that each situation requires its own custom approach. If the problem gets to a tipping point then an intervention might be necessary. This does not mean banning them from the family or taking away all their rights, but rather an organized effort at providing the necessary resources.
Above all else, it is important to be patient. Every path to recovery looks different and that needs to be respected and celebrated. Acknowledge the small victories in getting even one step closer towards healing. Tune into your emotions, be mindful of how you approach conversations, and open up the lines of communication. Though it can be difficult, providing ample amounts of patience and understanding can aid in the recovery process.
It is never easy to witness a loved one suffering from addiction or substance abuse, but understanding the problem and where it is stemming from can make all the difference. Being patient and offering support is key in the healing process, along with remembering that everyone’s journey is different. Be mindful of how to approach conversations, create a strong support system and don’t be scared to surface the tough questions and ask for help when it is needed.
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