How Family Members Can Help Addicts Get On The Road To Recovery

There is one thing that addicts have a hard time realizing; that an addiction problem is not theirs alone. Even if the addict is willing to admit that they have a problem they are reluctant to see that its affects reach far beyond what they personally experience. The pain and suffering of the family members and those closest to them are not always readily seen until they experience some sort of drastic consequences. The burden of shame, guilt, fear, worry, anger, and frustration can take its toll on everyone around.

It is only natural for family members to be concerned about a loved one’s struggle with substance abuse. In most cases, it is the family that suffers more than the abuser because they are more in tuned with what’s happening. The family dynamics can literally be strained to its max and it is usually the addict that has drifted away from the normal role of life. According to Sober Nation,

It is possible to help your loved one get the help that he or she needs. Although it might not be an easy road, it will be all worthwhile when your family member is able to live a happy, healthy and sober life.

Here are a number of things that will help and family member help a loved one to break free from their unfruitful habits.

Learn the Facts About What You’re Dealing With

Whether you choose to do your own personal research or you decide on getting some professional counseling you have to know what you’re dealing with. Substance abuse of any kind can prove to be a ruthless enemy and the only way to fight off such an enemy is to know it. It is only once we understand the symptoms and distinctive qualities of an addict that you can even begin to start the healing process. Your perception of the disease and its ill effects has to be adjusted so that you can provide the right support. Your loved one is sick, not necessarily a bad person. Once you’ve recognized this one fact, it can go a long way in helping to give adequate support for the problems they will face. This was pointed out by the Alcoholism Rehab organization,

You can’t stay sober on your own. You need support from professionals, family, friends, and self-help groups… The fact is that it’s much too easy to engage in self-denial, to think you can solve your problems on your own.

Addicts and alcoholics are not the best judges of how to deal with a problem simply because they often cannot see the whole problem.

Don’t be a Rescuer

It may be your natural instinct to step in and rescue them either financially or in some other way but since addicts are less likely to be in tune with the affects of their habit something drastic must happen for them to see it. They will most likely need to receive the full impact of their actions on their lives. If you step in and shield them from their lowest of lows it will take that much longer for them to begin recovery. As a rescuer you are simply prolonging the inevitable and in fact making it much harder for them to recognize their problem and start on the path to recovery.

Do Not Offer Financial Support

No substance abuse habit can survive without financial support. Even if you do not feel that you are supporting the habit, you could be. You may not choose to buy the drugs yourself but buying food, paying bills, lending them money, paying the rent, or bailing them out of jail are all perfect examples of how to enable an abuser. You may have the best of intentions, but it almost always gives just the right amount of service needed to keep them going back to their habit. One way to get an addict to reach out for the recovery and treatment they need is to cut off all financial support.

Don’t Place Blame

Some people work hard to understand the abuser and try to determine if there is something wrong with the family dynamics or social environment that caused them to reach out for drugs in the first place. While this idea might seem quite noble, it can paralyze one into inactivity. Remember, your loved one is dealing with a disease and searching for an underlying cause can be an actual distraction that could prevent them from seeking the treatment that they really need and inevitably lead to disappointment and frustration when they fail to meet them.

Watch Your Emotions

It is normal for you to be emotional about the challenges you face but when you show them you can send mixed messages to the addict. Many will feel angry as a result of facing the negative consequences of the addict’s substance abuse but in time the anger will subside. Pity will usually follow once the situation has passed, which could cause you to soften your position. Emotional ups and downs are quite common in this type of situation and if you allow your responses to be controlled by your emotions then you are less likely become an enabler in the process.

Claim Your Life Back

Family members should also focus their attention on the parts of their lives that have been disrupted due to the presence of drugs. Rather than giving the addict all of your attention you need to return to the things that will bring you joy; your hobbies, caring for your health, and similar activities.

Living with an addict can be extremely challenging and making the adjustments to get your life back can be very difficult. As explained by The Counseling Center,

The resistance is a difficult but necessary hurdle for the family to over come. Yet, it is necessary if they are to be truly helpful to the alcoholic or addict.

Some may feel that taking these steps could be harsh or cruel but without allowing room for the natural consequences of addiction to be felt there is little hope that your loved one will experience a full recovery. By developing a strategy of breaking those enabling habits their loved ones will eventually see the need to reach out and seek the help they need.

Important Considerations For Those Who Need Long-term Rehabilitation

Choosing an addiction recovery program can be extremely difficult to accomplish. There are many different types of treatment care to choose from each with a different goal, strategy, and level of effectiveness in mind. Choosing a treatment facility is not like walking down the aisle of your supermarket and putting your favorite things in the basket, nor is it a matter of bargain hunting. In order for your efforts to be successful you’ll need to think about the individual and their specific needs and then match the right care for them.

There is nothing more frustrating and heart breaking than to see a loved one come out of treatment and go back to their same old habits. If you’ve noticed that type of failure in your treatment decisions it may be time to consider long-term recovery care instead of the regular treatment centers. This is explained at Recovery.org,

An extended stay addiction treatment facility is often designed to serve individuals who have not been successful with other options. The resources available through such programs can be targeted to those struggling with a number of drug or alcohol relapses.

This is especially true if the patient has already been to short-term or outpatient care facilities with little results. If you find that the addict in your life is taking the revolving door approach to rehabilitation, it may be time to consider some of the long-term recover options available.

Types of Facilities to Choose From

All treatment facilities are not the same as they each are designed to target a very specific type of dependency. Not only do they utilize different approaches but they also may focus on different lifestyles, personality types, age groups, and genders in their rehabilitation efforts. Before you decide on any particular group to join, it is important to learn ahead of time what type of rehabilitation they offer. If you’re a very outgoing person that needs a lot of external stimulation then you may get more from a program that offers a lot of group discussion or activities, however if you tend to be more on the quiet and reserved side you may want a more one-to-one treatment facility.

What to Look for

Whatever type of facility you choose there are several requirements that all treatment centers should have. There are very specific questions you should ask in order to make sure that the facility has what you need.

You’ll want to make sure that the staff members have been trained to treat chemical dependency and that the facility offers both clinical and medical treatment options. All treatment centers should provide group or individual therapy sessions for the patient and should have some sort of life skill training so that the patient can immerse themselves back into society in a productive way when the program is over.

Remember, that treatment is only the first phase of recovery; a patient will require a lot of support before, during, and after treatment for it to be successful so finding a program that allows family and friend to be participants in the recovery process will most likely see the best results when it’s all over.

Because there are so many different variations on the treatment centers available the task of narrowing down your choices may seem overwhelming. In choosing the best options for you it is best to take the advice of The Addiction Recovery Resource Guide,

Many individuals lack the impulse control and sober habits to successfully maintain a recovery in their community. This is especially true of young people, who have maturational work to do as well as recovery. For these individuals, long term residential treatment may make the difference between success and failure.

The decision to seek out long-term treatment can be a difficult one however you must remember your ultimate goal; to get your loved one the help they need. This may require them to be away from home for a while but you can be assured that when they return they will be responsible and productive members of society.

What Happens To Your Body During Detox

When you are an addict your body becomes dependent on the substance that you are addicted to and when this happens you no longer care about what the addiction is doing to your body but rather worry about how you are going to get your next “fix”. When there are insufficient amounts of the drug in your system, your body reacts by telling your brain that you need more to achieve that feeling your body craves so badly. Drugs are toxic no matter which way you look at it and those wishing to come off their dependency are faced with having to go through detoxification and withdrawals. This detox process and withdrawals is what causes many addicts to “fall off the bus” but if they can get through this first process then they are well on the way to recovery.

The Detox Process

For most addictions, detoxification is the first step on the road to recovery. The main purpose for detoxification is the fact that your body needs to be cleared of all the toxins that have built up through your substance abuse. If your body is not cleared of all the drug toxins, you will never be able to overcome the cravings long enough to complete the rehabilitation process. Trying to do a home detox is not advisable as you might not have full control over the withdrawals that come with any detoxification process. The best option is always to detox under medical supervision and this is where rehabilitation centers come in. While in rehab you are taken through the necessary steps to recovery under the watchful eye of experienced personnel that are there to get you through in the best possible way and with the greatest amount of care. These professionals are there to prepare you for the detox process. They prepare you ahead of time so you know what to expect when your body goes into withdrawals. At Michael’s House they believe in the medical supervision.

Detox should take place under medical supervision. Because of the withdrawal symptoms an individual is likely to experience during detox, being in the care of a medical professional provides a “safe place” to go through that difficult period, and lessens the chance of relapsing into the drug abuse.

As you detox your body will react by exuding withdrawal symptoms thus the added need for professional care.

Types Of Detox

There are primarily two types of detox, Outpatient and Inpatient. The one that is least recommended is the outpatient detox says one Rehab referral.

It is rare that this is recommended, but in some cases where medication available by prescription or a methadone clinic will provide acceptable detox care, then an outpatient program may be a good choice. In instances where money is an issue or the patient must stay engaged at work or home, coming into an outpatient detox program regularly will provide adequate treatment.

The most popular and successful detox is the Inpatient detox. This is where patients are admitted to a rehab facility where they are away from the temptation of the drugs and can be supervised during the withdrawal process. Here the patient will also have their psychological issues addressed in order for them to make a full recovery.

The Withdrawals

A person’s reaction to the detox process varies depending on the length of the addiction as well as the substance the patient is addicted to. Some patients might become violent while others might have milder withdrawal symptoms like nausea and headaches. Those that exude extreme aggressive behavior will be treated separate from other patients and in some cases staff may need to use restraints or sedatives to protect the patient from harming themselves or the medical staff as well. So what is the physical evidence of withdrawal? These can include agitation, mood swings, irritability, insomnia and then profuse sweating, tremors, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting and flu-like symptoms as well. It all depends on what drugs you have been taking and whether or not you are dealing with a combination of issues like addiction and a mental disorder perhaps. For depressants such as barbiturates the withdrawal therapy is usually a gradual down scaling of the drug possibly with the addition of medication to help stabilize nerves cells during the detox process. Serious symptoms during this process may include hallucinations, tremors and increases in heart rate, blood pressure and temperature. For stimulants the Mayo Clinic suggests the following:

In some cases, signs and symptoms may include suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, paranoia, and decreased contact with reality (acute psychosis). Treatment during withdrawal is usually limited to emotional support from your family, friends and doctor. Your doctor may recommend medications to treat paranoid psychosis or depression.

For Opioids such as Heroin, Morphine and Codeine, side effects range from minor flu like symptoms to more severe rapid breathing, abdominal cramps, muscle pain and diarrhea. In these cases the medical team might administer a substitute opioid to help with the recovery process.

Coping Through The Process

There can never be enough emphasis placed on the importance of the support function of family and friends during the whole rehabilitation process. Overcoming an addiction is no easy task and it takes a serious effort over a long period of time to accomplish a great result. With the right support in place the addict has the added advantage in his/her success. Whilst in the rehab facility there are psychologists and therapists that work with the patient but the need for additional support becomes critical once the recovering addict returns home and begins to function within the mainstream society again. There are many support groups available to you and if family and friends are there to care for and support them then the task is that much easier. Being accountable to someone for your actions helps to keep you from veering off the path and this support group is extremely important to you and is also able to foresee and possibly prevent a relapse from occurring.