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How to Help an Addict Stay Sober—Even During the Hardest Times

Your loved one has gone to rehab, and you are breathing a sigh of relief. Now what? There’s no doubt you will experience a whole range of emotions. Though you may be tempted to sit back and enjoy the relative peace and quiet, resist that urge. Now is the time to get your house in order—literally and figuratively.

Addiction has far-reaching implications that affect not only the person dealing with a substance use disorder but also everyone around them. You have most likely experienced worry and uncertainty as substance use typically has a stressing and straining effect on the family dynamic. As such, it is vital that you examine your role in the recovery process and learn how you can make a positive contribution. Your help and support will be absolutely essential throughout the recovery process. Now is the time to be proactive and discover how to help an addict stay sober.

The Effects of Substance Abuse on the Family

Addiction is a complex disorder characterized by both physical and emotional dependency. As the body becomes physically dependent, the abused substances cause changes in the brain’s architecture. Substance use activates the brain’s reward centers and conditions motivation, altering the function of the frontal lobe, where self-control is centered, causing one to seek and continue to abuse substances in spite of the consequences. This reconditioning of the brain is difficult to overcome. Even after withdrawal alters the physical dependence, it can take months or even years to recover normal brain function. Unfortunately, during this period, relapse is common.

Since addiction is a family disease, it can damage the integrity of a family and alter relationships as it takes hold. Genetic predispositions and developmental factors further complicate addictive disorders within families. Complex feelings and resentments may emerge as the disease unfolds. Often, codependency develops as coping strategies alter the behaviors and roles of multiple family members. Though an addict may enter rehab for treatment of their substance use disorder, returning home to the same dysfunctional environment may cause stresses that lead to relapse.

Find Out How to Help an Addict Stay Sober

Ideally, as someone with a substance use disorder begins treatment, those closest to them will examine their roles in the process. Taking steps to build your capacity to offer meaningful and significant support can really make a difference during the long recovery journey. Here are some steps you can take:

Supporting a Loved One on the Long Road of Addiction Recovery

Since addiction is a family disease, if you are not striving to support the solution, you may actually be part of the problem. However, by caring enough to reach out, you acknowledge your potential role and accept the challenge of helping a loved one maintain sobriety. This will require preparation, commitment, and supportive resources to sustain yourself through the long road ahead. Your love and commitment can be a significant factor in their recovery journey.

If you want to learn how to help an addict stay sober, know that there is a wealth of information and assistance within reach. New Choices Treatment Centers are here for you and your loved one. Contact us online, via video chat, or by phone at (726) 888-7003 for ideas about next steps.