The road to recovery is not only difficult for those receiving treatment, but also for the family members caring for them. As we often say: addiction doesn’t happen in a vacuum; it affects the entire family unit.

According to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, more than 100 million family members are affected by a relative’s drug and/or alcohol addiction. These family members often experience high levels of stress, financial difficulties, health issues and interpersonal conflict.  There are many ways families can help their loved ones while they’re in recovery. Check out these four tips on how to get involved!

  1. Ask Questions

By asking questions, you will learn more about the treatment and recovery process for your loved one. Be sure to ask questions about the disease of addiction, how the program works, and what to expect in the early stages of recovery.

Programs like The New England Recovery Center offer family engagement specialists who help guide families and clients through the early stages of recovery. Family engagement specialists are experts on family dynamics.  They may encourage you to participate in family educational sessions and urge you to stay in contact with your loved one while he/she gets sober.

  1. Attend Appointments

To help better understand the recovery process, it is helpful to attend appointments with your loved one if they feel comfortable having you there. That way, you will know how and when to seek additional help, what treatment options are available, and ways to assist your loved one on the path to recovery.

Attending appointments and sessions will give you a better sense of the recovery process. Recovery isn’t linear and many times there will be ups and downs along the way.  By learning about addiction, recovery, the possibility of relapse, and his or her personal triggers, you will become a better support system for your loved one.

  1. Conduct Family Counseling Sessions

Family counseling sessions are a great way to connect as a whole family and discuss different ways to help one another. This can be a weekly check-in among family members to discuss how everyone is doing and what your loved one may need but hasn’t been able to express.

In many cases, addiction is hereditary. Allowing clinicians to understand your family dynamics and personal history of addiction can help individualize their treatment.

  1. Don’t Give Up

Lastly, don’t give up. Recovery is a long road and affects the entire family unit – which is completely normal and common. Don’t give up on one another and remember why you love this person struggling with addiction. Know that addiction is a vicious disease and not a moral failing. Most importantly, you’re never alone in the battle against addiction.

At the New England Recovery Center, we see firsthand the toll addiction can have on family and friends. That is why we provide a free virtual family support meeting series for individuals who care for someone struggling with addiction. This series takes place every Wednesday evening at 6pm E.T., beginning October 6th. These virtual meetings are free and open to the public, providing a safe space where everyone can share their stories with others having similar experiences. To join the virtual meeting, please email magnolia@spectrumhealthsystems.org.

Family involvement in the recovery process can have a positive and lasting effect on a person’s ability to move forward with their lives. Once families and friends can understand what is necessary to keep their loved one in the best position both mentally and physically, they will be able to help them on their road to recovery.

If you or a loved one is struggling with drug addiction, call Spectrum Health Systems today at 1-877-MyRehab. If you are a caregiver, friend or family member of someone struggling with addiction, join our free virtual family support meeting series Wednesday evenings starting in October.