Family members and friends play a very important role when it comes to a support system for loved ones suffering from a drug or alcohol addiction. This can be an extremely lonely time in the lives of those we love and depending on the way we handle it, we can be helpful or harmful. Women in particular have a hard time feeling accepted seeing as recovery has been labeled as a taboo topic in todays society. Many women are ridiculed and shamed or cast out for admitting that they have an addiction problem. This causes more psychological damage and raises their craving levels which decreases the chances of seeking help while raising the probability of relapse. Those struggling with addiction are quite vulnerable and it is important to reassure them that they are not alone and that there is hope no matter how hard it gets. Offering reliable support and unconditional love can make a world of difference.
Factors that Can Cause Hesitation When Considering Treatment
Many women who are battling drug and alcohol addiction have trouble asking for help because they do not want to be judged. In many cultures, it is more acceptable to be a male in recovery seeing as women are considered to be the providers, nurturers, and caregivers. This can prevent them from working on themselves and putting their wellbeing before anything else including obligations or the expectations of others. Other obstacles that keep women from seeking help include lack of motivation, skepticism of certain programs or centers, or minimizing their issues and therefore avoiding the problem all together.
What Can We Do to Make a Difference
Considering the emotional toll drug and alcohol addiction can take on a person, it is important to be proactive and do what we can to reassure them that we are on their side and that they will get through this with the right resources and assistance. Creating a close-knit community of sober, kindhearted individuals is key to preventing cravings as well as relapse. There are a number of behaviors we can practice in order to create a safe environment for our family and friends in recovery. Some examples of these are:
- Educate yourself - Doing the research to truly understand the gravity and concepts of addiction and mental health disorders is an important step in order to be helpful and logical.
- Stay persistent - Staying in contact and checking in regularly can prevent our loved ones from feeling neglected. This can also give them a chance to evaluate themselves and stay mindful of their mental state.
- Avoid scare tactics or blaming - This can do more harm than good seeing as the individual who is suffering will have the urge to run rather than work on their issues if faced with harshness and anger.
- Respect boundaries - Stay aware of one’s limits and be mindful of their comfortability. This can mean not engaging in activities that could be overwhelming or keeping away from alcohol and other substances when in the company of your loved one.
- Be aware of triggers - Ask if they are comfortable discussing or writing a list of triggers that can help you better understand and prepare incase there happened to be an issue. This can put them more at ease and reduce the chances of relapse in the future.
- Don’t personalize - It is important to try and look at the situation from their perspective, and come from a place free of judgement. Taking things personally or holding something against another will cause more hurt for all who are involved.
- Be understanding - Remember that drug and alcohol addiction is a disease and those suffering have had enough judgment. We want to show them that they are loved and cherished and help them with a second chance at life.
- Research Resources - Looking up local AA or NA meetings in the area and offering to keep them company is a great way to show support. Considering support groups for families with loved ones in recovery is also a positive way to cope and learn how to practice acceptance as well as forgiveness.
- Encourage the use of coping skills - We all have stressors in our lives which make it challenging to stay away from harmful vices. Examples of these are the loss of a loved one, loss of a job, personal conflict, or the end of a relationship. By suggesting positive coping skills such as journaling, exercise, or art, you are helping your loved one stay on track while keeping their cravings at bay.
Finding Help for Drug and Alcohol Addictions
It seems there are always a thousand reasons to wait or hold off, but the quicker our loved ones are given time to heal, the better chance they have at a sober, healthy lifestyle. It has been discovered that approximately 21 million Americans have a drug or alcohol addiction. Out of these, women are more likely to fatally overdose. With this disease affecting such a high percentage of the population, it is time to act now and reach out today rather than hesitating. There are countless resources in your area that are open to referrals for loved ones who are considering treatment for drug and alcohol abuse. Make the decision today that will create a lasting impact and contribute to the fight against addiction.
At The Ho Tai Way, a women’s drug and alcohol treatment center in Costa Mesa, there are various resources offered to those seeking help with their addictions. With a knowledgable, compassionate team and a diverse range of techniques, this drug and alcohol rehabilitation program has the components necessary to create a productive environment for each valued client. There are skilled professionals who will work with you to find the appropriate care plan and the most effective therapy for your individual needs. If you or a loved one is considering recovery, do not hesitate to call The Ho Tai Way today for more information about the program and a new start.