Making a Strong Support System

Having a support system when you are in recovery from addiction is so important. With a support system you are much more likely to be successful in recovery, and work towards other goals that you have set for yourself. Your support network can be made up of professionals, family members, friends, as well as mentors from places like AA or NA. A good support person is so much more than just helping you maintain a positive attitude. Listed below are some of the other qualities that a good support person should have:

 Stability. People in your support system should also be stable themselves. Your addiction may have had a serious effect on them as well, so it is important that they are seeking out the help that they need. It is also important that they are not currently abusing drugs, and are sure in their own recovery (if they are recovering from their own addiction). Part of stability is also helping you maintain a safe space to live and stay. This means that there should be no drugs and as few triggers as possible while you are working through your recovery.

 Understanding of recovery and relapse prevention. It is very difficult to be supportive of a process that they don’t understand, so it is important that the people in your support network are educated about addiction, recovery, and relapse prevention. The best person to educate them about your needs and triggers is you. It is critical that you explain what sorts of situations/things are triggering for your cravings and what they can do during difficult times in order to help get you through. It is also important that they understand their role in your relapse prevention. It is important that you communicate what you need from them and they need to be comfortable in the role that they are taking on so that they can remain an asset to you and a good support when you need it the most.

 Ability to be part of a team. Supporting someone through recovery takes much more than just one person. It is often times a team of people that are supporting and providing different types of support to the person in recovery. The people that you choose to be part of your support system need to be able to work together and be trusted to keep their personal issues out of the way. You may need everyone to come together at one time or another, which is why making sure they can get along and work together is so important. If two or more people in your chosen support system just don’t get along, you personally need to decide whether or not it is worth it having that as a part of your recovery. Needless disagreements and arguing can really take the focus off of you and your recovery, and put that attention on things that are really not worth it. 

People so often forget just how important it is to have a strong support system throughout the recovery process. The individuals that you choose to be part of this support system can make or break you during the very first stages of your recovery, and this is why it is imperative that you think long and hard about what you need and who you think would be able to provide that need to you. A good support person will always be there when you need them, and help keep you on track when you cannot do it yourself

Intervention

UnknownWhen those we love struggle with addiction, we want to do what is best to help them. Intervention is sometimes a necessary process.  Many people aren’t sure what it means to create an intervention.  Asking the addicted to seek treatment sometimes isn’t enough, especially if they don’t think that they have a problem. Interventions help show the addicted the alternatives to the way that they are choosing to live. But how can we support a loved one through an addiction and encourage them to seek treatment?

Each person that is addicted to drugs or alcohol needs hope, love, and faith from those that they surround themselves with. They need to feel accepted and valued, especially when considering entering treatment. It is important that they feel heard, but it is also important that they face the harsh reality of their addiction and what it is doing to their life. 

crisis-interventionAn intervention may be the next step to take when other methods fail. Let’s take a look at the basics of intervention first. An intervention is a gathering of people that love and care about the addicted. It is friends, family, and those closest to the addicted that want to support them going into treatment. Those that are not supportive of the group effort should not be included. The intervention should be led by a trained professional, someone who can focus the group and remain objective when speaking to the addicted. It is important that the group stays on track, and having someone that is removed emotionally from the situation will help things to go smoothly. A professional will also help you determine what is going to happen after the intervention. If the addicted chooses not to go to treatment, there has to be consequences. A therapist will be able to help you determine what those consequences are. They will also be able to put you into contact with programs that are most suitable for your loved one.

An intervention just might be the wake-up call that your loved one needs. Interventions are tricky, as it is often hard to tell how the person is going to react. What happens if they become agitated by the thought of recovery? Will it push them even farther away? Are you going to be able to stick to your consequences if they refuse treatment? These are all very common questions when considering an intervention for your loved one. People often have a lot of shame in having to leave their families and lives behind to seek help, causing them to be hesitant about going to treatment. They will come up with just about any excuse they can to not seek help. It is important to be reassuring that things will be taken care of while they are away, all in an attempt to set them more at ease and fully consider treatment options.

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Different types of people need different types of treatment and recovery support. Some can stay clean with just therapy and AA-type meetings, but often times people in recovery need more support. An hour or two a week just might not be enough. Out-patient treatment is also available in many areas. Out-patient treatment may involve the addicted going to a recovery centre for classes, workshops, group meetings and additional therapy/support. Therapy is a great way for the addicted to take an honest and hard look at themselves, something that they might not have done in a very long time. This also means that they might see something that they don’t necessarily like. Numbing out these feelings is something that the addicted has become very good at throughout their substance abuse, and this is why relapse is so common in the recovery process. This is where in-patient treatment facilities come in. An in-patient treatment facility is a place that offers round-the-clock support and monitoring for those in the in-patient program. They are very structured environments, focusing on the recovery process and learning more about one’s self. In-patient treatment is also available for families. These programs allow the family to work through issues of co-dependency as well as work on providing an environment conducive to recovery and healing when the addicted is out of treatment. 

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Addiction changes people. It makes them do and say things that they might not have otherwise said or done. It eats away at their body, mind, and soul, destroying relationships and lives in the process. But recovery is possible. Many addicts do not see the light at the end of the tunnel, and that is why it is so important that their friends and families do. Supporting your loved one and encouraging them to seek treatment may just be the push that they need to start the recovery process.

ACOA: How Alcoholism Effects Your Children as Adults

Alcohol abuse in a family deeply effects how the children in the family will respond to alcohol. One path these effects could take is your children also abusing alcohol and other drugs. This is because it would become a learned and acceptable coping strategy for your children when faced with difficult situations. The other path that these effects could take is that your children would avoid use of alcohol all together. This avoidance can go as far as fear of becoming addicted themselves. It is important to be aware of the effects that your drinking has on your family members, especially your children. Children learn mainly through observation. If they see alcoholism, they are more likely to become alcoholics themselves. So what can you do to ensure that your children receive the treatment that they may also need?

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Adult Children of Alcoholics (ACoA) is a branch of Al-Anon (support group for family members of alcholics) that focuses specifically on the adult children of alcoholics. ACoA exists to help educate and heal; educate about alcoholism and heal the scars left by their parent’s substance abuse. ACoA is a peer based support group, aimed at helping recovery within the family.

ACoA gives these children the opportunity to focus on their own recovery, all while their family member works on their own recovery. Often times, individuals will reach out to ACoA before their parent has decided to seek help. This is because they feel the need to know more about alcoholism than their family member has told them. They want to see past the drinking, and the other behaviours, into the causes of the alcoholism. Sometimes they just want support in making decisions regarding their relationship with their alcoholic parent.

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Recovery is something that the entire family must go through. It is impossible for the addicted parent to have a successful recovery, if they are coming home to the same environment that they left. The children are responsible for learning what the triggers and warning signs are, to help their parent work through a relapse or help to prevent one from happening. Part of this recovery process is learning about codependency and what role they may have played in enabling the parent’s behaviours. It is also a time to reflect of manipulative behaviours that have been exhibited in the past. By doing so, they can learn a better way in which to handle these situations.

Alcoholism often has a greater effect than we sometimes realise. It is important that all parties are considered when dealing with the recovery process. Ensuring that all family members, including the adult children, have a place to seek support is very important. Without recovery within the family, true recovery may not be successful within the addict.

Emotions and Addiction

When dealing with addiction and recovery, the emotions that come along with it are an important thing to look at. By becoming aware of the emotions that are part of your addiction, you can become more self-aware and more able to participate in your recovery.

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There are many emotions that can be a part of your addiction. It may be anger, sadness, or anxiety. How these emotions play into your addiction is a key piece of coming to terms with your addiction. Now these emotions play a big part in your bio-psycho-social and spiritual functioning.

So what does bio-psycho-social and spiritual mean when dealing with addciction? Bio-psycho-social and spiritual refers to the biological, psychological, social, and spiritual factors that affect your ability to function within your addiction.

The biological aspect may include:

  • Genetics
  • Brain chemistry
  • Brain behaviour and functioning

The psychological aspect may include:

  • Social learning
  • Motivations
  • Behaviours
  • Emotions
  • Personality development

The social aspect may include:

  • Availability of your substance
  • Economic status
  • Addiction in a family member or close friend
  • Culture
  • Community

The spiritual aspect may include:

  • Beliefs
  • Morals
  • Connectedness

This isn’t to say that all of these factors are present or the same in every person that is addicted. How each of these factors affects you may differ greatly from the next person. However, it is important to recognize the factors that have influenced your addiction in order for you to better understand the steps that you need to take in order to live a life that is addiction free.

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Recovery is a life-long process. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication to make it possible for yourself. By becoming more self-aware and connected to who you are, the more effective you will become in leading the life that you want for yourself.