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Yesterday, we wrote about how blaming yourself for a loved one’s drug or alcohol addiction actually prevents that person from getting better. Today, we’re going to talk about the second C of drug addiction recovery: cure.
Before going any further, it’s important to define the word in terms of addiction. “Cure” is used to describe a state during which those affected are able to consistently manage their symptoms. “Cure” does not mean that the person is no longer an addict.
This is why you should never hold yourself accountable for completely ridding a loved one of his or her addiction. As harsh as it may sound, it’s an impossible expectation to meet and can lead to unnecessary frustration or anger. In turn, this makes it more difficult to provide the support your friend or family member needs during and after treatment.
Your Loved One Needs You During Addiction Treatment
Addicts who have chosen to enter rehab have to face physical and emotional challenges early on. They could be struggling with anger, guilt or the shame of hitting “rock bottom.” They may be struggling with the fear of being unable to abuse drugs or alcohol on a regular basis. They might be afraid to put their lives on hold to get better.
Furthermore, because drugs and alcohol affect the way the brain works, removing the addictive substance from the body can lead to significant mood swings, anxiety, irritability, tremors, nausea, depression and more – especially early on in treatment.
While many treatment programs offer therapy, medical services and nutritional support to help people cope emotionally and physically, studies show that a strong support system can help addicts overcome their addictions. Being there to support your loved one while they are in treatment can do wonders for getting them healthy again.
Your Loved One Needs You After Treatment
For as much trepidation as your friend or family member may have in entering rehab, the fear of leaving treatment may be even stronger.
When in rehab, clients learn that they are protected from temptation. They know they can get support from staff or other clients at any time and that they are surrounded by positive, supportive people who understand what they’re going through.
After treatment, your loved one must face stresses that could lead to relapse. For example, they may be concerned about how other friends or family members will judge them. They will need to face the stress of getting back into the workforce. They may feel lonely as they try to distance themselves from old acquaintances who continue to use drugs and alcohol.
Studies show that many people who develop dependencies to drugs and alcohol initially started using to cope with their emotions. With so many strong emotions facing recovering addicts all at once, it’s no surprise that relapse is most likely to occur within the first three months after treatment has ended.
As someone who is trying to help a loved one get better, it’s important to understand that recovery is more than getting the person to stop using. It’s also important to understand that you play a key role in helping the person responsibly cope with the difficult emotions that come with addiction.
Many addiction treatment centers will include an emphasis on helping clients find post-treatment services, such as 12-step programs. Some programs, including The Raleigh House, go a step further by placing importance on family therapy and training during treatment to further increase the addict’s chances for long-term recovery.
If someone you know is experiencing addiction to drugs or alcohol, it’s important to remember that you can’t get rid of the effects of their addiction. However, you do play a key role in helping them manage their symptoms, which goes a long way toward long-term recovery. To learn more about our family support and training services, call 720-891-4657 today.