The 2017 World Drug Report stated that there are more than 29.5 million people all around the world that suffer from a drug problem. Realizing that someone you love has an addiction can be scary. Your life might feel like it’s been flipped upside down and it is filled with unknowns. Maybe you start questioning yourself, wondering why you didn’t see the signs sooner. Before you start down that slippery slope of self-doubt, remember that addiction can affect anyone, at any time, no matter their race or socioeconomic status. Addiction is not a choice; drugs, even those prescribed by a doctor, can alter the chemical balance of the brain resulting in an intense craving for the drug.
Your loved one is going to need all the love and support they can get from you to continue to overcome their addiction. While dating someone in recovery can be challenging, there are some tips to help you overcome the uncertainty that surrounds addiction, prepare for new trials you will face together, and help your loved one prevent relapse.
Tips and Advice
The best thing you can when your loved one returns home from their addiction treatment is support them. You can support your loved one by trying your hardest to make time for his or her meetings, working on trusting your loved one and his or her new sober friends, and forgiving them.
Making Time for Meetings
Show your loved one you care about them and want to see them succeed by making time for their meetings. A recent study found that families who are involved in their loved ones’ meetings, such as family therapy, experienced greater treatment outcomes for both the individual coping with addiction as well as for the family member.
Trusting Recovering Loved One
Your loved one is going through a time where they are learning to trust themselves. Leaving a treatment program can be nerve wracking. Your loved one is going from constant supervision to being able to make decisions for him or herself. Show them they can trust themselves by you trusting them to make the right decisions. This can be extremely difficult because you might feel as though they broke your trust not telling you about their problem sooner. Do your best to trust your loved one to make the right decisions.
Trusting New Sober Friends
Peer support is such a huge part of preventing relapse and remaining abstinent from drugs. A study published in Substance Abuse Rehabilitation, mentioned that peer support is a huge prediction of recovery and sustained recovery. Your loved one needs his or her new sober friends just as a soldier needs a battle buddy. His or her new sober friends can watch each other’s back and support each other in a way no one else can. Only they can relate to being in the trenches of addiction together, fighting towards recovery. They can share stories on what helps them avoid drugs and can be there for your loved one to talk him or her out of relapsing when you can’t.
So many people have experienced being wronged by another person. Attempting to hold on to those negative feelings can be harmful to not only yourself, but also your loved one. If you and your partner in recovery are attempting to move forward, couples counseling is highly suggested. This way you can begin to move forward and discuss hard topics like forgiving your partner in a safe setting with an experienced counselor.
Forgiving someone can reduce anxiety, depression, as well as reduce substance abuse or dependence. People who forgive others are also more likely to be more satisfied with their life. In order to make the relationship work forgiveness must happen, in some form. It is important to forgive but never forget.
Addiction is not something people choose; they often fall into addictions dark grip unknowingly. So, set any resentment aside and do your best to trust your loved one and their new sober friends. Make time for his or her meetings and look at your loved one with an open mind and forgiving heart. That can be your best chance of rekindling your relationship and helping your loved one live an addiction free life.
Patrick is a writer for Sunshine Behavioral Health. Patrick writes about addiction and mental health to help reduce the stigmas associated with them. When not working you can look for Patrick at your local basketball court.