Addiction Recovery is a Team Effort
Drug and alcohol addiction recovery definitely can seem impossible without the support and love of family and friends. Dependency alone makes you feel isolated and lonely. But recovery often feels just as challenging—especially once you face the reality that your addiction has nearly destroyed your closest relationships and alienated former friends and possibly even family members in the course of getting and using your substance of choice.
Gaining the support of your family and trusted friends during recovery can also help them understand your daily struggles as they, too, take steps to restore relationships. Through honesty about substance abuse, whatever it might have been, and by legitimately listening to your loved ones, you can begin to draw together a stronger network of support. Although substance abuse treatment and beginning the recovery process are not enough, by themselves, to ensure your family will return to your side, they can be the needed foundation for this to happen.
Let’s examine more closely why you should involve your friends and family members whenever possible during your addiction recovery.
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Expanding Your Sober Support System
Many detox and rehab centers offer treatment in the form of medically-supervised care, counseling, and group programs. However, your friends and family are an often underutilized support system. These are individuals who want you to become healthy again, and they will help you become sober for no other reason than that they love you. Additionally, these are the people who can introduce you to new interests that support a substance-free existence.
The key to long-lasting sobriety is including people in your life who share your sentiments about drugs and alcohol while also cutting out the people who enable you or feed your addiction.
Meeting new friends doesn’t limit you only to those you meet at AA or NA. Find people who play sports that you enjoy or hobbies you dabble at as they can keep you motivated to stay sober.
Educating Your Family About Your Recovery
Addiction tears families apart because it leads to financial ruin, destroyed careers, legal problems, and even domestic violence.
Therapeutic family sessions teach your family about the connection between drug and alcohol abuse and the brain. These sessions also teach them methods to help you break the cycles of alcohol or drug abuse. During the therapy, you begin rebuilding relationships under the tutelage of addiction counselors who are skilled at navigating these sometimes stormy waters.
Your closest family members will support you in sobriety, want to learn how to help you, and become a key to preventing relapse. It solidifies their commitment to helping your addiction recovery really take flight and lead to the life you (and they) always wanted for you.
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Avoiding Relapse After Detox and Therapy
Even after you have completed addiction treatment, relapse is still a dangerous possibility and can occur when you encounter triggers that make you crave drugs or alcohol.
Family and friends who are committed to helping you recover can help guide you away from these scenarios. They can also encourage and support 12-step support groups, relapse prevention classes, and ongoing counseling.
Struggling with triggers or cravings? Check out our advice on dealing with some of the most common reasons for relapse and remaining committed to recovery.
Spending More Time in Sober Places
If your family and friends commit to helping you fight for sobriety, they’ll most likely support your desire to keep it out of your house. They can foster a safe environment by removing alcohol, drugs, or substances from the home.
When they understand your triggers, they can also plan sober activities that you can all participate in together. They might even have other friends who are also engaged in recovery who will expand your network. You may be inclined to find support in strangers in AA chatrooms and groups, and while they may be useful, the intimacy of personal familial relationships is necessary for addiction recovery.
Be honest about your triggers and cravings. When your loved ones understand the cause and intensity, they can help provide you with a judgment-free, safe environment.
They can also help you blow off steam, as stress is a well-known cause of cravings.
Strengthening Existing Sober Relationships
Relationships have frequently suffered as a consequence of addiction. Loss of trust, loyalty, and honesty can be restored. Involve your friends and family in the recovery process so they can gain an understanding of your addiction and help you beat it.
Group and family therapy can help you reconnect and even strengthen family bonds.
If you suffer from addiction and feel hopeless, ashamed, or scared about including friends and family in your recovery, understand that many detox centers will help lead family meetings in a therapeutic setting. Family therapy can help patients and their families repair and rebuild bonds that have been impacted by addiction.
Reaching out in Times of Need
While the support of family members will remain a crucial element of successful substance abuse treatment and recovery, it is also important to cultivate connections with sober supports no matter where you can find them. If you come from a background of alcoholism in the home, you may find solace and support in the meetings of Adult Children of Alcoholics, or for those with partners or spouses engaged in drinking or drugs while you maintain recovery, Al-Anon family groups or similar support methods can be very helpful in addition to other forms of sober supports.
Even a different setting like a creative arts group at your local library can be a balm that helps ease the difficulties of early recovery efforts and gives you a positive, nurturing activity to tell your friends (and your family members) all about, especially since such new and relatively ‘normal’ pursuits can help ease any concerns they may have about your dedication to sobriety.
Finally, even if you have the full support of your family in seeking substance abuse treatment and getting out of active addiction into a treatment facility, it can still be tough at times. Know that the team of recovery representatives at Find Addiction Rehabs has experience with these situations, and can help you find treatment options that promote not only family involvement, but cater to your specific needs and concerns in seeking help. We’re here any time of day or night, so please don’t hesitate to reach out if you are having difficulties in finding the right way to launch your recovery!