Disclaimer: I am not a medical professional & have no educated background in chemical dependency. The following is a personal account and should be taken as such.
This is the 2nd post in this series
After over 15 years of Grey’s Anatomy, I’m surely not the only one who still watches & connects with Christina and Meredith’s bond. They were each other’s “person”. No matter what state your addict is in now; at one time they were also your person to some extent. Your addict…your person is not gone. It is just going to take time and a roller coaster of a journey to find them.
As the friend of a chemical-dependent person, this journey, so far, has been overwhelming; and I am not dependent on any substance; so, I can only image how Jeff or even immediate family members feel.
We do not currently know how long Jeff will be going through rehab, but as of now, we are anticipating two or more weeks. If you are the caregiver or loved one of a chemical-dependent individual it is incredibly important that you do not abandon them in this time of transition. Let’s talk about some suggestions on how I can support Jeff as he recovers from this disease.
Fortunately, the facility he has admitted himself into has a family recovery program that meets on Tuesday and Thursday evenings. Just as it is important for Jeff to educate himself on his dependency, it is important for me to educate myself on the dependency, the disease, the triggers, the rollercoaster ride of emotions, and how to handle our future in a healthy manner.
As a support system, we have been encouraged to help Jeff get to treatment once discharged and to overcome every hurdle preventing treatment attendance
Support attending a 12-step program such as AA, NA, CA
As I mentioned above, Jeff’s dependency has taken a toll on all of us in one way or another. We cannot be beneficial to his success if we are not successful in our own lives. Al-Anon meetings are a great source of support.
Acknowledge and learn addiction is a treatable disease
Acknowledge feelings. Especially let your person know that you love them, but their addiction and the behaviors associated with it are what you do not like.
Let your person know you are attempting to be open minding and willing to listen. This is a big change for the dependent person and they may need someone to talk with.
Listen to your person, just listen. Don’t try to fix it, don’t try to rationalize something. Just listen.
Encourage good health, good exercise.
Abstain from the usage of the chemical especially around your person. This is especially true if you live with the dependent. Remove substances from the home; and talk with your addict about it.
Try new things, new interests as individuals and together
Acknowledge resentment, deal with it, and let it go. The addict is rising above the situation and so should you
Learn to forgive and let go
Share what you learn in the recovery program sessions; create a positive conversation
Deal with conflicts that might arise by working together
Be patient. As they say, Rome was not built overnight; change takes time.
Remember this is still your loved one; have fun with them!
Be dependable, be reliable
In recovery, they practice HOW which means being honest, open & willing. So be HOW
When you see positive changes, they are making recognize them and make sure to be descriptive
Another thing practiced in recovery is HALT, so don’t get to HUNGRY, ANGRY, LONELY, or TIRED
Don’t nag or pester; they are already pressuring themselves to do better; they don’t need constant reminders from you
Don’t accuse them of using the addictive substance
Be open if you have concerns of signs of relapse
Recognize your own strengths; you are stronger than you will ever know
Recognize the strengths of your addict and make sure they know that you see the assets they bring to the world
It’s OK to ask your person, “Is there anything I can do to support you today?”
Stay in the present; One Day at A Time
If you have an alcohol dependency issue, please reach out for help. This disease does not only affect you but your loved ones and even complete strangers who pass by you.
If you are the loved one or caregiver of an alcohol-dependent person, there is help out there for you as well. You are not alone, and never will be.
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