Addiction is a family disease that affects everyone connected to the addict. So what should family and friends do (and not do) when someone they love is addicted?
Addiction is a disease of the body, mind and spirit from which people can and do recover. Like any other disease, no one intends to get sick or wishes it upon someone. Addiction recovery is a process of healing from the different layers of pain, disappointment, shame and guilt that come with addiction.
What not to do:
- Do not think you can control the addict or the addiction. Understand that the addict and the addiction are beyond your control. You can only control yourself.
- Do not enable the addict or alcoholic. There is a difference between helping and enabling someone. Helping someone is doing something for someone which they are not capable of doing themselves. Enabling someone is doing for someone something they can do and should do for themselves. Helping looks at the long term benefits and consequences, whereas enabling only looks at the immediate situation or drama.
- Do not make threats you won’t be able to follow through on. Addicts/alcoholics will continue to push any boundaries to the limits and weaken your resolve. Set limits you can keep and then keep them.
- Do not shame or scorn the addict/alcoholic. Addiction is a shame based disease and does not need any more shaming to fuel itself. The addict/alcoholic often suffers from chronic shame which includes different levels of low self-worth, low self-esteem, self-hatred, and a distorted self-image.
- Do not make excuses or cover up for the addict/alcoholic. Allow them to experience the full consequences of their addiction. Do not deny or minimize the addiction or its severity. Trying to fix their problems, manage their lives or control the addict’s behaviors only prolongs the addict from learning to be accountable and responsible for their actions. They are kept from learning the valuable lessons they need in order to grow and change.
- Do not allow your emotions to get the best of you. You have ridden a roller coaster of emotions long enough; it is now time for you to get off the ride. If you find yourself getting overly emotional in dealing with the addict/alcoholic, step away until you can be calm. Addiction creates drama, so be prepared for how you will act before the drama begins.
What to do:
- Be patient while the addict/alcoholic is in recovery. Recovery is a journey not a destination. Recovery will happen in several stages and may not happen in a neat line.
- Do what you can at the moment. There will be situations where you will be hesitant or confused about what to do. Make the best decision you can at the time and move one. Learn what works and doesn’t work and act accordingly. Remember to fully accept that you made the best decision at the time with the information you had available.
- Do focus on yourself not on the addict/alcoholic. Loved ones need to focus their efforts on staying healthy. You can’t help the addict if you are not healthy and cannot help yourself. You and your families’ well-being depends on it.
- Set boundaries for your long-term health and sanity. Lovingly (and frequently, if necessary) insist that your boundaries be respected and state the consequences for any violation of your boundaries. Follow through on these consequences. See your follow-through as an act of love that builds trust for yourself and the addict/alcoholic.
- Do identify and recognize the different areas of life that have been neglected as a result of your preoccupation with the addict/alcoholic and begin to rectify any damage done.
- Do practice letting go of your need to fix, manage or control the addict/alcohol or situations and circumstances that arise from the addiction. This is sometimes called "release with love”.
- Do seek help for yourself and other family members. Getting outside help is often critical for complete healing and growth. It can also provide a healthy perspective on your situation and interactions. Seek out a therapist, counselor, Al-Anon, Nar-anon, Smart Recovery, Co-Dependents Anonymous, Adult Children of Alcoholics or some other group that focuses on those who are affected by an addict/alcoholic.
Change will take time but will be a beautiful journey of uncovering, discovering, and recovering your lives. You will not only survive, but thrive.
Remember: Progress, not Perfection
New Hope Recovery Center provides individualized treatment for all clients. We understand that each client is unique. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol, you can reach us at 888-707-4673 (HOPE) or email@example.com.
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
The holiday season can be stressful for all of us, whether we are in recovery or not. Overindulging in everything from food to alcohol, over-spending seems to be in vogue, and then we are expected to “hit the reset button” come January 1st. Living in excess is not particularly healthy for anyone, but for those of us in early recovery, trying to avoid it can be extremely daunting.
Here are 6 tips for helping you survive the holidays in recovery by celebrating with sobriety.
1. Plan Ahead
Doing some planning around the holidays can help decrease the stress associated with having to get through them without losing one’s sobriety. First, it is important to talk to close friends and family members who will be attending parties and gatherings with you and ensure that everyone understands what you want them to say to others who may ask why you are not drinking. There is nothing worse than someone approaching family members asking why you are not partaking in the holiday cheer and your family not knowing what to say, or perhaps telling more information about your situation than you are comfortable sharing. Having this conversation well ahead of time can spare everyone involved the worry and possible hurt feelings and anger that could occur if we decide to “wing it” with regards to how to handle questions.
2. Be Accountable
Have someone hold you accountable before and after holiday events. “Bookending” with a friend, a family member, a therapist or a sponsor can really help put you in the mind frame to hold your boundaries and stay true to your sobriety. It can also help you feel that you are supported and that you do not have to do this alone!
3. Bring a Buddy
If possible, bring a recovery friend or sober buddy along with you to parties. Feeling as though you have an ally in the room can decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness as well as social anxiety.
Also, have a non-alcoholic drink in your hand at parties or gatherings to avoid having people offer you drinks and/or questioning why you are not drinking.
4. Self Care
Practice self care. Although others may be overindulging, there is no reason to feel deprived during the holiday season. In addition to ensuring that you are getting proper sleep, nutrition and exercise, consider treating yourself to a massage, manicure, yoga class or spa afternoon.
5. Start New Traditions
Create new holiday traditions that do not focus on alcohol or other excesses. Consider starting a holiday get-together for your recovery friends that focuses on the importance of recovery and the gifts of sobriety.
6. Prevent Cravings
Always remember the HALT acronym. Do not let yourself get too Hungry, Angry, Lonely or Tired. Often cravings occur when we are experiencing these feelings, so recognizing them and working a bit harder to prevent them can make maintaining recovery much easier, especially during the holiday season, when we are all a bit more vulnerable to these emotions.
There is no reason you can’t enjoy yourself during the Holidays, but do plan ahead and follow these 6 tips to help you stay sober and happy.
If you or someone you love would like more information or help with addiction or drug or alcohol abuse, contact New Hope Recovery Center at 773-883-3916 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
|Did you know that November 30-December 6, 2014 is National Meth Awareness Week?To learn more about Meth Awareness Week, visit The Meth Project on Facebook at facebook.com/methproject and Tumblr at tumblr.com/blog/methproject, and follow the conversation online at #MethAwarenessWeek.|
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We thought this would be a good opportunity to share articles we have written about Crystal Meth.
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
With the Holidays approaching, as well as throughout recovery, it is important to be mindful of the things we are grateful for, one of which could be your recovery. Being cognizant of feelings, emotions, and triggers that the Holidays bring is important for staying sober throughout the holiday season. Researchers have found that familial pressures are attached with celebrating the holidays, which could be an added stressor for individuals. The Holidays could also bring back using memories as these were times for some of heavy substance use.
What is gratitude?
Gratitude is being thankful and appreciating various aspects of your life. Gratitude leads to happiness. According to Robert Emmons, gratitude is “an affirmation of goodness. We affirm that there are good things in the world, gifts, and benefits we’ve received.” He further mentions that “we recognize that the sources of this goodness are outside of ourselves…We acknowledge that other people-or even higher powers, if you’re of a spiritual mindset-gave us many gifts, big and small, to help us achieve the goodness in our lives.”
This is important for us to recognize, as we are able to identify the source of personal happiness and evaluate where changes need to be made. We can relate the above definition of gratitude to recovery in the sense of one’s higher power, and being thankful for that, which helps him/her through the challenges that recovery can bring.
How does gratitude affect an individual in recovery?
Recognizing our gratitude towards the opportunity we have been given to become sober is important for us to be aware of. Research has shown that having gratitude decreases one’s feelings of anxiety and depression, improves one’s sleeping patterns, enhances relationships, increases resiliency, increases acts of philanthropy and kindness towards others, and encourages one to seek forgiveness. With these in mind, an individual in recovery who is thankful for their involvement in treatment, as well as with other aspects of their life, can be awarded with the abovementioned outcomes of having gratitude.
If you or someone you love is affected by an addiction, please contact New Hope Recovery Center for assistance. (888) 707-4673. email@example.com
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
We are entering the time of year when parties, family get-togethers and excessive eating, drinking and merriment can create difficult or at least tricky situations for those in recovery. Thanksgiving in particular can be a challenging time. Family interaction is often expected and it may be the first family get-together in a while.
6 Tips for Having a Happy and Sober Thanksgiving:
1. Review the Past. If you are planning to be with family or friends during Thanksgiving, reflect on past Thanksgivings. Were they stressful? Was there a great deal of drinking and partying? Did family members fight or bring up and/or re-inflict old wounds? Did you feel comfortable and at ease?
By reviewing the past, you can look for things that may temp you to drink or use again. When and where do you think your buttons will be pushed? What situations or encounters led you to feel stressed, angry, sad or hurt in the past? Just because you are sober doesn’t mean that things will be drastically different. Hope for the best, plan for the worst and be ready for everything. Being prepared is the best thing you can do.
2. Plan Your Entrance. Now that you have reviewed where you could feel stressed, anxious, irritated/angry or triggered, plan how you will attend. Is it better to go early and get comfortable? Is it better to go later, to avoid certain encounters? Is it better to go with a sober friend or family member?
Perhaps it is better to not attend at all? If that is the case, is there a way you can communicate with your family to express your thankfulness for them, but yet keep yourself safe? Look for sober friends you can celebrate with. If you decide that it would not be healthy for you to be around family and old friends during Thanksgiving, plan something special with others.
3. Plan Your Exit. Before you go, plan on how long you think you can comfortably stay. If you know from past experience that staying for a full day, or a full holiday weekend will be too much or dangerous to your sobriety, then plan your visit accordingly. Let your family know about your plans ahead of time. This will help you set realistic expectations and allow others to understand your plans. Be prepared to leave even earlier than you may have originally planned if you are triggered or feel unmanageable stress, anxiety or anger. It is acceptable to explain that you feel you need to leave early.
4. Have Support Ready. Let your support group and sober friends know about your plans and any difficulties that may arise or did arise in the past. Tell them your travel days and times. Have a person available you can call if things get difficult. Or perhaps ask someone to go with you.
If you decide that you cannot safely attend your family’s Thanksgiving, see what sober events are available near you. Thanksgiving can be triggering even without family and old friends around. It can also be lonely…most restaurants and stores (although fewer each year) are closed. So plan ahead to share your Thanksgiving with others. One great way to spend Thanksgiving is to volunteer at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter for the day. It can be an incredibly moving experience that will fill you with gratitude.
5. Be Honest and Realistic. It's best to be open about your addiction and recovery with family and friends. At a minimum be clear about your boundaries and rules. At a minimum tell your family that you are not drinking or using during the visit.
You should feel wonderful about your sobriety, however, don’t expect that everything within your family will be drastically different immediately. People change and evolve in small steps, so look for tiny increments of change. Sure, you are different, but give your family time to actually see and experience the difference. Seeing truly is believing for family and friends, especially those you may have hurt in the past.
6. Be Grateful and Enjoy – Now that you have planned ahead, you can relax and enjoy your Thanksgiving. Relaxing during a holiday isn’t always easy, so remember to breathe deeply. Thanksgiving is a holiday dedicated to being grateful, so think of at least three things you are grateful for, and try not to stop with three. Our entire world changes when we see the world through gratitude.
If you or a loved one would like help with an addiction, you can contact New Hope Recovery Center for assistance. 888-707-4673 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Written By: New Hope Recovery Center
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