Imagine how tough it is to deal with addiction on your own. You want to get better, but often you can’t control the compulsion for another drink or hit. You feel like you’ve disappointed your family and friends, and you feel shame for every substance you take. Now you are beginning to understand what it is like for your friend or family member who is dealing with addiction. The one thing they need through this time is support. But what kind of support? Here are a few ways you can be there for your loved one in their time of need.
Don’t judge. Forgive
We all come from different backgrounds and histories. I’m not going to pretend like I know what your friend or family member has been through. They could have real scars and real destruction in the past. Or there could be stability and at somepoint things just went wrong. One thing I can say no matter what is that forgiveness is needed. Whether the person realizes that they have a problem or not, they still need you by their side. You cannot judge them or blame them for making that first mistake. A lot more things are out of our control than we realize, and blame doesn’t create any kind of healing. How can a person forgive himself or herself if they don’t realize that their parents, children, and friends already forgive them?
Be their Coach
Whether it is pre, mid, or post treatment, your loved one will be going through some serious pain. This will be both physical and psychological. Withdrawal symptoms are serious and are often the leading circumstance of relapse. Before the treatment, things can get pretty scary. And depending on the time away from the substance, they will need your constant coaching. You need to hold them and tell them whatever it is they need to hear in order to breathe. This can mean hours of holding them as if they were a child again. In post treatment, they will need you to understand the lessons they’ve learned, and therefore you will still have to be there to make sure that they stick to their goals. You will have to provide a positive, guilt free environment. Whenever a person comes home from recovery, they are fighting an internal war not to go back to their substance. So that means your job is to make home as welcoming and as supporting as possible.