The opioid epidemic continues to sweep the nation, and it is as present as ever here in Arizona. During this past year, there have been over 1,500 deaths and nearly 10,000 overdoses related to opioid usage in the state. Drug addiction is a very serious problem and when people choose to get help, it’s very important for their friends and family to support them while they are in recovery, which is a lifelong process. Compassion and understanding are traits that will always be necessary when dealing with an addict: life has its ups and downs, and it’s important to be there for them when they need it.
Addictions don’t leave. Once you’ve had an issue with substance abuse it can be hard to avoid thinking about your condition, even once you’re sober. This is why constant care from family and loved ones is so important during recovery, a time where an addict is changing their lifestyle and re-learning how to lead a sober life. Here are four ways to support your loved one and help them get through their opioid recovery.
1. Educate Yourself About Addiction
As a support for someone in recovery, you need to learn as much as you can about this disease. Find articles online, read books in person, and go to meetings to chat with others that could be going through the same supportive experience as you. Through these resources, you can learn how an opioid addiction really works and how to avoid enabling addictive behavior. This will ultimately help your loved one even more, because a lot of the time what we think is helpful actually isn’t.
If you’re covering an addicts bills and finances, it may seem like you’re helping them out. Opioids give users an intense euphoric feeling, making them drowsy and lazy when use is excessive. So by taking over their responsibilities, you are not allowing them to experience the consequences of their addictive behavior. Make sure your information come from professional sources. Friends can be great listeners, but addiction experts make the best educational sources for this topic. The more you know, the more you can help.
2. Don’t Take Things Personally and Respect Their Wishes
While in rehab, a patient’s contact with the outside world is limited initially. Once they are able to contact relatives and friends, some people opt to refrain from doing so. This is because they are focused on their recovery, and dealing with an abundance complex emotions. There may be shame for what they did while deep in their addiction, or a fear that their emotions will be too overwhelming if they were to disclose their feelings.
The important thing to remember is to respect the desires of your loved one and not take things personally. When they are ready, they will reach out. At that moment is when they will need you most, so be there for them then.
3. Stay in the Present and Focus on Sobriety
Some addicts have done things in their past that they are not proud of. Don’t focus on putting a spotlight on this, because your loved one is trying to work on themselves and push forward, leaving the past in the past. Focusing on negative things that have happened can further feelings of shame, fear, and embarrassment. Instead, try to stay in the present and focus on the positive changes your friend or family member is making towards staying sober and starting a new life. Consider getting a therapist or counselor for yourself to work on these issues if you feel you are still harboring resentment toward your addict’s past.
4. Support Positive Choices
Throughout the recovery process, addicts may make decisions that are initially hurtful to you. They may choose to live far away, or lose interest in activities you used to do together. It’s important for loved ones to support the positive choices that addicts make, especially when they are related to staying sober and protecting themselves from old habits and triggering environments. Recovery is a time for addicts to be selfish and do what’s best for them. Don’t take these types of decisions personally, and support any choices that lead to sobriety.
Addicts go through an intense rollercoaster of emotions, and it’s important to keep in mind that they are trying to make the best choices to fulfill themselves physically, mentally, and emotionally. The best thing you can do is cheer them on from the sidelines, and make sure they know that people are rooting for their sobriety. Near or far, it’s always a good feeling to know that support is out there if you need it.
Scottsdale Recovery Center provides an effective rehabilitation program for those dealing with opioid addiction, both in Arizona and nationwide. Contact us to find out the amazing benefits of our treatment centers, staffed with expert professionals who are available to assist you in any way 24/7. Call us today, on behalf of you or a loved one, and let’s discuss which treatment programs are best for you.
Talk to Someone Who’s Been There. Talk to Someone Who Can Help. Scottsdale Recovery Center holds the highest accreditation (Joint Commission) and is Arizona’s premier rehab facility since 2007. Call 602-346-9142.