You don’t have to be an addict to suffer from addiction. If a loved one has a compulsion they can’t quit, you will feel it just as intensely as they do because you only want the best for your family and friends. While it’s your job to be there for them to make life easier, you also must understand the toll their habit has on your mind and body.
A support network that can’t hope isn’t effective, so it isn’t shellfish to think about yourself in this situation. It’s essential for everyone. With 3.2 million individuals misusing drugs yearly, it’s common for the circumstances to affect your life. Plus, there is the added impact of the Coronavirus pandemic that has made issues even worse.
Families and friends play a significant role in the recovery process, which is why it’s vital to take steps to get to grips with the subject, as well as find the most suitable treatment programmes available. That way, you can offer the love and support needed in order for a person to heal properly.
With that in mind, here are four coping mechanisms for the loved ones of addicts to use should you ever feel overwhelmed.
Learn About The Biological Changes
The topic of addiction has to be one of the most stigmatised in the world. Thankfully, society is beginning to see it’s a mental illness that needs treating accordingly, yet not everyone is on the same page. Did you know that an addiction is linked to chemical changes within the brain, making it a biological issue?
Many people don’t, which leads to unhelpful support, such as blaming the victims for not “getting their act together.” Like any mental health problem, recovering from compulsion isn’t as simple as snapping fingers and magically eliminating the problem. It’s deep-rooted and requires painstaking treatment.
By learning more about the root causes, you should be less inclined to blame people or feel a certain type of way. The latter doesn’t make you a terrible person. However, they do lead to arguments that escalate out of control. The tension and stress can make it seem as if you can’t cope, so avoiding touchy topics is an excellent way to keep everything under control.
Tension is worse because it wears away at your processes as you’re constantly in “fight or flight” mode. Therefore, the emotion will be chronic if it persists for long periods.
Try Group Sessions
Being around an addict isn’t a walk in the park. This isn’t an apparent generalisation – it’s backed up by science. As a result, avoiding stress isn’t as straightforward as it might be for other people who can remove themselves from tricky situations. This is where group therapy sessions come into play.
Although addiction is an incredibly personal experience, your loved one doesn’t have to go through it alone. In group sessions, you can both speak about what’s happening and why providing more insight into each other’s lives. When you do this, you’ll be less likely to lash out or make snap judgements.
After all, you’ll understand their processes and vice versa. Of course, you can’t demand to be involved. Instead, you must wait until the individual is ready to let you into their recovery circle, which can take a long time. In the meanwhile, the best thing to do is to explain that you’re ready to participate.
By doing this, you make them aware of your intentions, encouraging them to come to you when they feel the moment is right.
Go To An Interventionist
Like a therapist, an interventionist is someone who you might assume is for addicts only. And, considering you haven’t got a habit you want to drop, it’s tempting to believe they are counterproductive. However, this isn’t the case because a quality interventionist focuses on immediate family, too.
The job of a professional addiction interventionist is to help the family heal, regardless of the substance user’s decision. Therefore, they are there for anyone who requires assistance, whether it’s concerning helping the person you love or finding better ways to cope under the pressure.
If anything, an interventionist is more for an addict’s support network than it is the addict. This is because their main role is to bridge the gap between the two parties by helping family members and friends to recognise and understand the user’s behaviors and their reaction to those behaviors.
It’s a process that can involve as many people as necessary, including the substance user, yet the latter isn’t essential. As someone integral to the recovery process, you can use a professional to highlight where you stand and why. The more information you have, the more likely you are to cope.
Manage Your Expectations
Managing your expectations is probably the key to your ability to cope. It’s easy to say a person who is struggling should do this and that, yet you can’t make judgements without empathising. With empathy, you’re likely to see how they think and feel, and how this impacts their decision-making process.
For example, not everyone who goes to rehab finishes it without a hiccup. On the flip side, some people cruise through and understand how they should act quicker than others. It depends on the individual since every journey is personal.
Your job is to offer support not only in the good times but in the bad ones too. However, to do that, you must realise that backsliding or making small gains aren’t unhealthy. Yes, relapsing is disheartening, yet the emotions are more intense for the user. The more you show your disappointment, the harder they’ll find it to stay on the bandwagon.
Plus, managing your expectations will prevent your spirits from plummeting if something goes wrong. As a result, you shouldn’t feel as stressed. Instead, you’ll go back to the drawing board to ensure it never happens again.
There are lots of coping mechanisms for the loved ones of addicts. The best ones include seeing an interventionist, going to group therapy, and learning about the addiction process. Of course, none of these will work if you don’t manage your expectations correctly.