What can families do? Educate Yourself
Not only empowering yourself to make good decisions, but educating yourself will prepare you to be ready with information if and when your loved one is ready to seek help.
• Enroll in a Narcan course
• Learn about the nature and risk factors for addiction
• Stay up to date on the latest research on recovery
Create firm limits about what you will and will not tolerate from your loved one, limiting feelings of frustration or being taken advantage of.
Some examples include:
• No communication when intoxicated (e.g.phone calls or text messages)
• No alcohol or drugs allowed in the house
Expect recovery, but be prepared for relapse. Some individuals achieve long-term recovery on their first attempt, for others, it may take multiple attempts over multiple years. Keep your hope up, as substance use disorder is known as a 'good prognosis disorder' in that the majority of people can and do recover.
Get Outside Input
The stigma of addiction often leads to secrecy, isolation, and shame. It is therefore important to seek outside input early and often.
• Peer Support (e.g. Al-Anon)
• Professional Help (e.g. Therapist)
Practice Self Care
You will not be able to help your family member or friend, if you cannot help yourself. Work to maintain a healthy routine that includes nutritious meals, daily exercise, and a good night’s sleep.
The likelihood of a mental illness diagnosis doubles for individuals suffering from substance use disorder. Look for common symptoms and seek professional guidance. Some individuals will be more receptive to dialog and treatment of mental illness than addiction.
Try Immediate Rewards
Alcohol and drugs affects the brain's reward system. Try incorporating immediate and consistent rewards for healthy decisions. This method is shown to shape positive behavior.
If you feel like you may be in danger, or that your relationship is not healthy, you may need to end the relationship. Source: Recovery Research Institute
Voices of Hope co-founders participated in this video, Journey to Recovery, a KET documentary, which takes an in-depth look at the opioid crisis and how communities are responding in Kentucky. Learn from the nation's top experts on substance use disorders and hear the personal stories of those who found the path to long-term recovery. This is a great place to begin understanding the disease of addiction.
More Resources & Support
Voices of Hope's Family Support Line: 859.687.9595
Getting Your Loved One Sober
By Robert Meyers and Brenda Wolfe
Beautiful Boy: A Father’s Journey Through His Son’s Addiction
By David Sheff
Codependent No More: How to Stop Controlling Others and Start Caring for Yourself
By Melody Beattie
Clean: Overcoming Addiction and Ending America’s Greatest Tragedy
By David Sheff
Don’t Let Your Kids Kill You: A Guide for Parents of Drug and Alcohol Addicted Children
By Charles Rubin
Addict in the Family: Stories of Loss, Hope, and Recovery
By Beverly Conyers