New Year’s Resolutions: Supporting a loved one who resolves to end addiction
A big part of the holiday season is New Year’s resolutions. And if you have a loved one that is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, now is a popular time for them to resolve to put those ways behind them.
A big part of the holiday season is New Year’s resolutions. And if you have a loved one that is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, now is a popular time for them to resolve to put those ways behind them. However, they cannot do it alone. And while you can’t try to take responsibility for their recovery – after all, it’s only the addict who can take full charge of their addiction – you can definitely resolve to do a few things to help them succeed.
1. Be actively supportive
It’s all well and good to tell an addict that they’ve got your support, but in order to really make a difference, they need to see it and feel it. Help them to research treatment options, offer to drive them to their support meetings or counselling appointments, ask about their goals and achievements thus far with genuine interest, but most importantly – be there for them when they tell you they need support.
2. Take part
It’s important for your loved one to engage in new, stimulating activities to keep their mind off their desire for substance use. Give them the extra courage to get involved by getting involved with them. Sign up for a yoga class together once a week, or simply set up a time each week that you will get together and go for a walk, have coffee – whatever you both feel like doing. Not only does it show them you care, but knowing they have to see you at the same time each week makes them accountable for their actions.
3. Abstain also
If you don’t have a substance abuse problem, you don’t have to abstain permanently (unless you want to), but abstaining completely when your loved one around is very encouraging. If you accompany them to a party, abstaining with them will make them feel less alone, and keep their anxiety at bay which is a common cause of lapse in judgment and use.
4. Stay calm
Your loved one will likely come across many bumps in the road, and if they have a poor judgment call and use or abuse substances once or twice, it’s important not to get angry with them. It’s more than likely that they are already furious with themselves, and you putting more pressure on them is not going to be helpful.
5. Stay hopeful
The best thing you can do is help your loved one to look towards the future. Make sure they understand that everyone, even them, deserves a wonderful life – and that they can get there – even if it takes a lot of time and effort.