Living with a loved one who battles with addiction can be an emotional rollercoaster. Oftentimes, family members lose sight of their own needs in an effort to mediate and take care of the ailing alcoholic or addict. When this happens, friends and family may feel neglected, overlooked, and even abused.
How does one seek help while living with someone in the throes of addiction? What about living with an alcoholic or addict in recovery? The tools are the same.
Attend Family Programs
At a full-service treatment facility, therapists and staff understand the importance of including family members in the recovery process. Addicts and alcoholics typically affect a wide circle of friends and loved ones. These individuals need support as well. Through education, understanding, and group process groups, family programs offer firsthand insight into the realities of the addiction process and recovery.
Find Outside Support
While friends and family members may lean on each other during times of trouble, outside support networks, such as Al-Anon, Alateen, and CoDA (Co-Dependents Anonymous), are also available to provide enduring, non-judgmental, and anonymous support. By attending these groups, you are giving yourself the chance to grow and become educated in the field of addiction and recovery. There, you may gain insight and perspective on the disease of alcoholism and understand that this disease does not exist in a vacuum. You are not alone. People do recover, together.
Seek Family Counseling
When an addict or alcoholic is in the midst of his or her disease, family members may react in a way they wouldn’t usually toward their loved one. Communication systems break down. Feelings get hurt. Relationships suffer. Affordable group therapy is offered in most major cities in addition to individual therapy for recovering family members. By creating a safe space to discuss topics openly, with the help of a trained therapist, family members can take these skills into the home and practice them in their daily lives.
Remembering what your life was before you became entrenched in the devastation of alcoholism and addiction is important in building a path toward the realization of recovery. Creating an ideal vision of your life, including hobbies you enjoy and maintaining social activities, is part of developing a full plan for self-care and self-discovery. The more you take care of yourself, the better you will be able to offer support to others. This is true whether the addict is in recovery or active addiction.
Keep the Focus on Yourself
While it may be tempting to check up on the alcoholic, protect the addict from harm, and over-analyze every interaction that takes place in the home, it is not healthy for you, the recovering family member, to give up your well-being for someone else. Developing a spiritual practice, involving yourself in nature, and keeping busy with work and activity are all ways in which you can remain attentive to the one thing you have some control over: your own life.