In any addiction recovery situation, the support of friends and family can make a huge difference. At Renaissance Ranch, we highly encourage patients within our outpatient addiction treatment programs to seek support through the proper channels.
As a caregiver in a situation like this, you will face several challenges yourself. You want to provide encouragement and love, but also enough strictness and stability to help impact real change – all without enabling negative behaviors. Let’s look at some strategies for empowering a friend or loved one struggling with addiction.
Allowing Individual Action
There’s a natural desire to be helpful as a caregiver, but you have to be careful here. A big mistake within this role is continually taking on simple tasks that your friend or loved one could handle on their own – this may give them a sense of guilt, or even worse, a sense of complacency and a lack of real commitment to recovery. On the other hand, the responsibility of caring for oneself and completing basic tasks can increase confidence and make the process more pleasant.
Happiness and Sincerity
Feelings are contagious, so try to have a happy face on as often as possible. Be sincere, as well – in several areas. Be as honest as you can without being hurtful, as integrity is something people recognize and respect in others. When there are hard truths to tell, be as straightforward about these as you are about positive developments. Being as real as possible sets realistic expectations.
Encourage Openness and Accountability
This is a double-edged sword. Being open and communicative is easy for all parties when things are going well, but it can be much tougher on both ends when there are issues taking place. When both you and your friend or loved one struggling with addiction are able to take part in an open, trusting back-and-forth, it will remove much of the pressure that comes with basic accountability.
There are no gold stars during addiction recovery, but that doesn’t mean positive steps can’t be recognized. Many of these steps are incredibly difficult for people in a situation some of us couldn’t even fathom, and seeing that they’re recognized and appreciated can go a very long way. This includes reminding loved ones that you love them and are proud of them, and also includes absorbing failures in the proper ways.