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How the Family Plays a Role in Recovery

Addiction is just like any other medical or mental health issue; it’s dealt with best when there is a solid support system. Friends are great, but there is nothing like a supportive family. What’s the difference? If the people who share your DNA aren’t supportive of you, then they are hurting you, demonstrating that you aren’t as high on their priority list as you would like to be. As a family member, it’s your job to let the addict know that you see their flaws and issues, but love them just the same. The process of overcoming addiction doesn’t end when they walk out of one of the rehabs in Orange County. It’s just beginning.

Set Firm Expectations

This is just about what you expect from them. It’s a two-way street. What can they expect fromyou? Consider setting the limits below.

  • No cash will be given, but essentials will be provided.
  • Daily, weekly, and potentially monthly measurable goals will be set. This isn’t to treat the addict like a child, but to give them something to work on and some measurable progress to reflect on when they are feeling like they just can’t go on any longer.
  • No drugs or alcohol are to be brought into the home.
  • No war storying around you. Don’t encourage reflections on pleasant memories of when drugs were actively used.

Continue along this line, setting firm expectations for them, and then offer the expectations below and add to this list as you discuss what he or she needs and what you are able to offer.

  • You will make sure someone is available for a period of time should the loved one need to be talked through a craving or situation. If you work or can’t be reached for another reason, make sure your loved one has the contact information for someone else he or she can seek out.
  • Just as they won’t war story, you won’t lecture. Part of the process of healing is forgiving themselves and potentially asking you for forgiveness. You have to allow for the opportunity for self-reflection, rather than pushing your own feelings on them.
  • You will not bring drugs or alcohol around them or into the home. If you have medication that you have to take, keep it in an area they don’t have access to, and don’t take the medication in front of them, as this may be a trigger. If you yourself use or drink alcohol, avoid doing so while you are helping them. If this is a problem for you, you may not be the right family member to help them, and you may want to reflect on the potential of your own addictive behavior.

Helping an addict is not a fun process. You’re going to have to set firm boundaries and take a look at any enabling behaviors you may have developed yourself. You might consider contacting an Orange County rehab to learn about meetings for loved ones of addicts, or asking about steps you might take to help with specific addictions.

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