Author: Alyssa Craig
When it comes to addiction, there is of course a large focus on the addict and helping them to overcome this painful and difficult trial. But you are not the addict. You are their spouse, their partner, their sibling, their parent, or their friend. This addiction has weighed on you heavily since the beginning and has only continued to cause you stress and heartache. Whether or not your loved one is ready to take on the next step of recovery, you can start receiving the help and support you need to persevere. Here are some ways you can attend to your own needs during this turbulent time.
Just as there are support groups available for those battling addiction, many of these same organizations offer support groups for friends and family of the addict as well. These groups provide a great place to receive additional information about addiction, receive support from those in similar situations, and facilitate open communication. You can meet and befriend others who are facing similar challenges. The focus of these groups is on how the addiction affects you, not your loved one. For once, it will be about you.
Online Help Forums
Online forums are a great place to reach out if there is not a support group available in your area, or if your schedule does not allow for you to attend meetings. You can get your questions answered, connect with others who truly understand your feelings, and receive support for whatever stage of addiction you are currently facing with your loved one.
Read Recovery Literature
There are many books available that can help you to not only gain deeper understanding of addiction as a whole, provide education regarding the specific addiction your loved one is going through, and find advice on how you can really help the addict. Pick up one that fits your situation and use the new knowledge to start tackling this trial.
There is a lot of emotional and mental healing that can come from attending counseling and receiving professional help when a loved one is addicted. There are individual and family counseling options available, depending on what will work best for your family. Look for a counselor who deals specifically with addiction recovery to gain an even better perspective and support. These professionals can help you understand what you are going through and provide experienced advice.
Religious or Spiritual Leaders
If you are a religious or spiritual person, you may find peace and comfort in confiding in a religious or spiritual leader as you face this situation. Many find this to be a great source of strength. It can also feel more comfortable going to someone who you know and already greatly respect, before going to a counselor.
Rely on Your Knowledge
As you seek support through any of the above avenues, you will build your knowledge base of addiction, what to expect as it continues. or what the individual is experiencing as recovery begins. This knowledge can give you something to rely on as you develop understanding and empathy. As mentioned in this article, it will also help you to be able to continue to see the good in them. It may not take the pain away, but it might make it just a little more manageable.
Go for a run, take up boxing, go for a walk, or even do a little yoga. When things become overwhelming and you need a quick release, exercise is a great option. It will give you a healthy outlet for your emotions, as well as release endorphins, which will help you feel better for a time.
Take Care of Yourself
Above all, it is important that you do not forget to take care of yourself. This time is greatly focused on the one who is addicted and loved ones can lose sight of their own needs. Make time for the hobbies you have always enjoyed, eat well, exercise, get plenty of sleep, and make time for relaxation. As you do so, you will be able to move on with your life as you put the focus back on yourself. Not only will it help you, but it will help make you a better support to your loved one.