Addiction can be a serious and debilitating illness that affects not only the person struggling with it but also their loved ones. The road to recovery can be long and difficult, but it is possible with the right support and resources. If you have a friend or family member struggling with addiction, there are steps you can take to help them along the way.
1. Find Your Foundation
You’ve already admitted that you have a problem and that’s a huge step toward recovery. However, you can’t do it alone. Make an effort to make amends to those you hurt and ask for forgiveness and help. While you may have a network of friends, if these friends are also addicts, they likely won’t contribute to your recovery. Science of People explains the signs that may indicate it’s time to find new friends. These include getting upset when you don’t do what they want and lack dependability. Each attribute is commonly associated with addicts. The friends and family you invite into your life now will be the glue that helps hold you together as you fight the hardest battle of your life.
2. Supplement Your Recovery
If you’ve gone through formal drug addiction treatment and counseling, you may have found that you need more. Unfortunately, this is cost prohibitive for many and if you want to stay sober but you’re on a budget, you will have to supplement your recovery. Meditation is a wonderful form of holistic therapy that, according to Mindworks, can help you regain control of your impulses. The American Psychological Association also lists cognitive behavioral therapy, community reinforcement, and family behavioral therapy as useful against substance abuse disorders.
3. Seek Your Salvation
It is certain that you never found peace at the bottom of a bottle or through the prick of a needle. But, you can find peace through God or your religion. As part of your addiction treatment, consider going back to your place of worship. This can be intimidating, particularly if you’ve been away for a while or have hurt members of your family and congregation in the process of addiction.
4. Accept Your Condition
While you have already accepted your addiction, you must also look inside yourself to see if there are other reasons that may spur relapse, aside from the physical dependence on drugs or alcohol. Chemically dependent people often suffer with co-occurring mental health disorders such as depression, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder. More severe mental illnesses, such as schizoaffective disorder, are not uncommon.
You must uncover and treat these additional issues or risk relapse, which may require you to seek traditional addiction treatment. There are free rehab centers in the US where you can get support for both mental health and addiction to get yourself on a good path to sustained sobriety.
You may also need to eliminate circumstances in your life that negatively affect you. For example, if you are in an abusive relationship that drives you to drink, you will need to find the courage to leave that life behind. If stress from work is the culprit, you will need to change careers, even if it means living with less.
As a friend or family member, you cannot just sit idly by and watch a loved one destroy themselves from the inside out. Family Addiction Center explains that addiction wraps its fingers around more than just the addict. It often destroys families and leaves its ugly mark on everyone in its wake. Don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend in need by asking, without judgment, if they need help and what you can do to ease their burden. You might, for instance, help them connect with a pastor or addiction recovery specialist who can set them on a path toward sobriety.
Keep Pushing Forward Through Recovery
Addiction can be a challenging journey, not only for the person battling it but also for their loved ones. Despite the daunting road ahead, there are ways to overcome addiction and help a friend who might be struggling. From seeking professional help to developing healthy coping mechanisms, understanding how to combat addiction is the first step in overcoming it.
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