“I have discovered that I am fierce.”
“I am brave enough to do this.”
Addiction is a disease, and it’s treatable. As with any chronic disease, the treatment for Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is unique to everyone. The goal is to end substance misuse and achieve overall wellness.
Whole-person wellness, which is critical to maintaining long-term recovery, includes:
- Overall physical health
- A healthy mind that can think clearly and manage emotions
- A living environment that is safe, clean, and feels like home
- Healthy relationships with friends, children, partners, and others
Supporting Someone in Treatment
Substance Use Disorder can place an undue burden on the family and friends of the person affected. Substance use can dominate the person with the disorder, affecting all their close relationships. Family and friends often try for months or years to convince their loved ones to enter treatment, and although this is the first step toward recovery there are many additional factors that support long-term wellness. Learning to live without substances is a dramatic change for the person with the illness.
Family and friends want to be helpful but are often unsure how. Consider the following:
- Educate yourself about Substance Use Disorder, including the treatment and recovery aspects. Understanding this is an illness that has affected how your loved one thinks, feels, and interacts with the world is critical.
- For many individuals, treatment is the first step, but they will still need to deal with the consequences of their previous actions. There may be financial issues, health problems, and the long process of rebuilding trust in relationships.
- Relapse is common, learn about relapse, know the signs, and how you will respond.
- Have reasonable expectations- recovery takes time. By knowing what to expect, you can help lessen the disappointment.
- Learn new communication skills that allow you to have non-blaming conversations with your loved one.
- Remove all addictive substances from the home.
- Understand that your loved one may not feel comfortable at social gatherings.
- Find new activities you can enjoy together.
- Don’t neglect yourself. Often family members have put their lives on hold to support someone with Substance Use Disorder. By re-prioritizing yourself, you can reduce resentment towards your loved one and model self-care.
- Find support for yourself. Joining others with the lived experience of loving someone with Substance Use Disorder is very helpful. You will gain the emotional support, understanding, and knowledge you need and have a safe place to share your feelings.