You as a family member can contribute to your loved one’s recovery. So, what does that look like for you? You do want to bring your awareness and effort first and foremost to your own recovery. Where are you in your own recovery? Are you taking care of your own fears, attitudes and behaviors? If not, why not? Get the support you need so you are available to yourself, and then your loved one. Your own recovery is essential for family recovery. It is not just your loved one who is healing and changing. You must address your own issues and recovery to be an agent of change.
1. Resist the temptation and possible habitual pattern to fix and solve things for your loved one. Habits can be changed and this one is necessary for your loved one to take responsibility for their own recovery and life. Be aware to resist getting them a more comfortable room, a better roommate, better food, a different therapist, etc. These are distractions to their treatment and recovery and can be addressed with treatment staff. Your loved one is an adult. Treat them as an adult. Adults do this for themselves. If your loved one is a minor, of course, you become much more involved.
2. Ask the treatment center to work with your loved one regarding HPPA laws and documents needed to be included. Request their time so you can at least voice your concerns and your observations so your loved one can have more successful treatment to address important issues.
3. If you are able to, and as soon as possible, speak with your loved one’s therapist. Include the following:
You are an advocate for your loved one’s recovery. You are not advocating for their comforts, desires or demands.
You will support the treatment center’s recommendations and suggestions. If you are confused or take exception, ask first for clarification and their rationale. Welcome negotiation and discussion.
Respect their expertise and professionalism. Expect they will confront and challenge your loved one. Allow them to guide your loved one without your interference and enabling.
Let them know you are working actively in your own recovery, that you’re working with a recovery coach, going to meetings, reading literature, etc
Invite them to challenge you if they notice you are enabling your loved one, or in denial.
If you have your own coach or therapist, offer their availability (with agreement) to discuss pertinent issues.
Welcome open dialogue about your loved one’s concerns or criticisms, their challenges, blocks that would compromise their treatment success, or any other information your loved one’s therapist thinks important to share with you so your loved one can get and stay substance free or maintain a harm reduction approach.
You are available and welcome any and all questions from your loved one’s therapist – full disclosure.
Participate fully in family meetings with your loved one’s therapist. Prepare and allow their guidance.
Stay out of denial, avoiding, numbing or running.
You want to and will work together for a solid after care program to continue treatment and recovery activities.
Request weekly updates on your loved one if permission for interactive communication has been granted.
Consult with therapist about topics advisable OR NOT to discuss with your loved one. Take care when talking with your loved one about topics that may be upsetting and distract them from their treatment.
Validate and support their commitment to their recovery, meetings, education, motivation, etc.
Welcome whatever your loved one wants to talk about. If you have concerns about their statements then record your concerns on paper and share with their therapist or case manager. Resist confrontation.
Contributions made by Beverly Buncher, Family Recovery Resources - The BALM (Be A Loving Mirror) and Michael Speakman, Parents of Addicted Loved Ones (PALs)