Do you have a loved one who is struggling with their recovery from opioid addiction? It would not be surprising if you know someone who is a recovering addict and they needneeds your support.
According to HSS, an estimated 10.1 million people aged 12 or older abused opioids in 2019, with most of them using heroin. Considering how drastically the world has changed since then, the unfortunate reality is that substance abuse might have been getting progressively worse.
So, how can you support a recovering addict?
When someone you care for is struggling with opioid addiction, there will always be challenges that they will need to overcome. It is necessary for their loved ones to show support and help them on their path to recovery.
Not every situation has a clear answer as to how you can support the recovering addict. You may find yourself making some hard choices, and you may give ultimatums that are unlikely to help.
This post will discuss some of the most useful tips that can help you support a loved one recovering from opioid addiction.
5 Tips to Support Loved Ones Recovering from Opioid Addiction
Understanding the best ways to support your loved ones as they recover can be crucial in helping you get the best possible results for everyone. Here are some of the most useful tips that can help you get your loved one further along on their journey to recover from this horrible addiction.
1. Take care of yourself
Supporting loved ones recovering from any kind of addiction means making sure that you take care of yourself as well. You cannot take care of someone else if you are struggling yourself. Remember that substance abuse of any kind is an illness, and their illness can affect others around them.
Unfortunately, many friends and family members of recovering addicts place their loved one’s needs before their own. Not caring for yourself can result in your physical and mental health deteriorating to the point that you cannot help your loved one.
Making sure that you are in the best physical, mental, and emotional state can help you overcome the obstacles while helping your loved one recover.
2. Remember who they really are, not what they look like they are
Substance abuse is a disease that can alter the state of reality for the person suffering from it. It can distort their moral values and change them into a person that you might barely recognize.
You must remember that the person they are right now is not who they have become. Rather, it is the disease that is making them behave this way. They are suffering from a disease, and treating them like a disgrace to the family can have a negative impact on their recovery. If the person feels like they need help, they might not feel inclined to reach out for support because of the shame and stigma attached to them.
If you end up making them resent you, you can compound their struggles, and they could spiral further into their addiction.
It is only natural to get frustrated and angry at the person. You might even need to limit your interactions with the person if they are currently using opioids to protect your mental health. However, you should remember that this is a serious illness, and the person you know and love is still in there.
3. Educate yourself on substance abuse
Like with any disease, the more you know about it, the better equipped you are to help a person suffering from the illness.
Many people, unfortunately, misconstrue a person’s inability to recover as their failure to exert willpower, that they do not want to recover. That is one of the many damaging myths people believe regarding substance abuse, and it impairs their ability to support loved ones who are suffering from addiction.
Make an active effort to educate yourself about substance abuse disorder, the types of interventions you can use, and find out about treatment plans and recovery programs that can help your loved one.
Nagging or preaching to your loved one about what they should have done or how things could have been better if they never started using drugs never helps. Seeking professional help is not something to be ashamed of, especially if the problem is getting out of hand.
4. Make sure you do not use your comfort as leverage
If you are close to the person suffering from substance abuse disorder, life can become very challenging for you. It may even get to the point where you give them ultimatums to try and get them to stop using. However, using a statement like “You will quit if you really love me” will almost always give you a negative outcome.
It is understandable that you are concerned for their well-being and want them to get better. But using your love as a means to blackmail them into quitting will not yield good results. You should use your love as a tool to express your concerns for them. Remind them that you are willing to support them in their recovery, and they are not alone in this problem.
Making them feel like they are not deserving of your love if they are an addict can deteriorate their mental condition. Telling them that you love them enough to see them live a happier and healthier life again can be better. It is completely alright to set limits with your loved one to keep your own health in check.
Sometimes, you might have to let them go through the consequences of their actions to help them learn from their mistakes, but make sure you do not do any permanent damage and make them resent you.
5. Be patient and let them learn from their mistakes
Remember that you need to be patient with your loved one. Allow them the chance to reject their temptation by themselves. Help them develop the ability to talk about their issues with substance abuse without making them feel ashamed. Your role in their support is crucial, especially if they slip and make mistakes.
Remember that such a drastic change is going to take its time, and it is not uncommon for recovering addicts to relapse several times. A study observed that two out of three recovering addicts can could relapse within the first year of their recovery.
However, the more time they spend sober, the chances of them relapsing will reduce. If your loved one does relapse, you should not consider it as a sign of failure. It only highlights that the treatment methods might need to change to help them recover.
Your loved one might go through multiple relapses before they can find a treatment method that is the most effective for them. You must believe that they can recover and let them know that you believe in them.
It is crucial to remind yourself that it is never an easy journey to help someone recover from opioid addiction. Supporting your loved ones as they get better can be a lifelong mission. Sticking it out and remaining steadfast to ensure that they get all the necessary support to recover can provide good results.
No matter how guilty they may make you feel for not helping them get their fix when the recovery hits a rough patch, you should stand firm. If you have already had an intervention with your loved one and they have gone through multiple relapses, it can help to pursue a more effective approach to help them recover.
Specialized and medically-assisted treatment programs can yield excellent results for recovering addicts. Beat Addiction is a leading provider of specialized treatment programs designed to help make the road to recovery a little easier for your loved ones. Consider exploring the treatment they can offer to help you ensure that your loved one does not spiral into another relapse or recover from the current one.