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  • Writer's pictureCAROLINE Bentley

Supporting a Loved One in Treatment

It is a monumental step when a loved one decides to venture into the world of addiction treatment. You might be wondering ‘what’s next?’ as you're hoping this works and you’ll see your loved one be well again.

Your journey so far has likely been a whirlwind of chaos trying to get your loved one into treatment. Now that it’s happened, you want to know your role. What does supporting your loved one in treatment mean for you when they’re still living at home?

This blog looks into what support can look like and prioritizes your own healing as your loved one is in treatment at SagePoint IOP.

The Importance of Being Involved

When your loved one is safely in treatment, the deep breath that comes next is a welcome relief to your system. But their work has just begun, and so has yours. You may feel inclined to step aside as it’s tempting to think that this is just ‘their problem’ to solve. Although the person with a substance use disorder needs to do their own treatment work, addiction impacts the entire circle of friends and family.

Your involvement at this stage can look like educating yourself about addiction, recognizing patterns of enabling, learning how to support your loved one in treatment, and ensuring you address your own needs.

Research has shown that when families participate in treatment in some way, the outcomes tend to improve for the person’s recovery. You play a vital and powerful role in the addicted family system.

Start at the Beginning: Learn About Addiction

Addiction is a disorder that impacts both the brain and body. At SagePoint IOP, your loved one will learn important truths about how addiction affects the way they think and act. They likely did things that they wouldn’t have done under normal circumstances.

You can support a loved one in treatment by learning about addiction’s role on the brain and behavior and ways to move forward. While they are in treatment, they may want to talk to you about what they are learning and discovering about themselves. Some of the best support you can give is to listen to their experience openly.

Active Listening Tips

Check-in with your listening skills to provide a safe space to support a loved one in treatment:

  • Listen without planning your response.

  • Listen without distraction.

  • Do not interrupt or assume you know the rest of the story.

  • Give cues that you are listening like nodding or asking for clarification if you do not understand.

  • Listen to understand instead of making judgments.

Practical Ways to Support a Loved One in Treatment

  • Be in the Present: It can be difficult not to think about the past hurts and betrayals when trying to support a loved one in treatment. Be mindful of the ways that you bring this up. If they mention that they are excited to try a new group, it would not be helpful to bring up that they dropped out of the last one. Instead, use positive, present-focused language to focus on what they need to commit to this group now.

  • Make Plans Together: Routines or ways of living often need to change when a loved one is in treatment. This readjustment may require planning how your loved one can get to SagePoint IOP and scheduling changes. It is also helpful to be a part of relapse prevention planning as your loved one learns to restructure their time. Discovering your loved one’s triggers and making plans together to strengthen their recovery show that you value their needs.

  • Encourage Participation in a Recovery Network: One of the best ways to support your loved one in treatment is to hype them up to build their recovery team. We all need more than one person to talk to about our hardships. Going to support meetings or speaking up in treatment can help your loved one feel less shame and isolated. It also allows you to remember that you are not the only one there for them.

  • Get Your Own Support: You could genuinely benefit from having your own support while your loved one is in recovery. It’s challenging to love someone with a substance use disorder but relieving to feel less alone. SagePoint IOP offers a family support group to help build a community and learn about the impact of addiction. Free resources like Al-Anon also exist that focus on the wellness of the family and friends of the person living with an addiction.

  • Attend Family Counseling: It is very common to have conflict or problematic patterns when someone in the family is focusing on recovery and past wounds inevitably surface. We know that addiction impacts the entire system, and family counseling can aid in addressing this. If you are feeling at a loss of how to support your loved one in treatment, counseling together can provide ways to get unstuck.

SagePoint IOP knows that involving loved ones in treatment can help the recovery of the entire system. It is most beneficial when everyone is informed and prepared about what treatment looks like and ways to move towards healing. If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please reach out today to learn more about our services.

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