For an addict, completing a rehab program is a feat worth celebrating. That said, life after rehab comes with its own set of trials.
To begin with, your family member's addiction may result in ongoing hardships. These include health issues, financial difficulties, and relationship problems. Addressing these challenges will require the support of the entire family.
Other than that, living with a recovered alcoholic is all about communication. If you're honest with your loved one about their addiction, they'll know they can count on you. Skirting around the issue will only make it seem worse.
Want to know more about how to support an alcoholic in recovery? These 5 tips should help you out.
1. Educate Yourself
To help your loved one, you'll need to know exactly what they're dealing with. Start by learning about the mental and physical health risks of alcoholism. This should also help you express your feelings without projecting blame.
Want to go the extra mile? Consider family therapy programs. Among other things, a therapist can teach you intervention skills that you can use during trigger situations.
2. Encourage Sobriety
During the first year of recovery, all family members must maintain a sober lifestyle. If there are any intoxicating substances in the house, remove them. Special occasions and social events should be alcohol-free as well.
Finding new activities to take part in can be a great help in this regard. Riding bikes or going to the movies together are good examples of clean fun. For a more long-term activity, gardening is always a popular choice.
3. Prevent a Relapse
When it comes to how to help an addict, avoiding a relapse should be your top priority. Try to be on the lookout for warning signs at all times. These include sudden attitude changes, missing AA meetings, and loss of interest in hobbies.
If you do spot some of these warning signs, handle the situation with care. Contrary to popular opinion, a relapse is not the end of the world. Instead, it's a sign that the treatment plan could use some adjusting.
4. Reduce Stress
As you may know, a recovering alcoholic is more susceptible to stress than other people. What's more, family conflicts are some of the most common stress sources out there.
Activities such as meditating and exercising can provide a lot of stress relief. That said, don't just suggest them to your loved one -- offer to do them together. Emphasizing teamwork helps promote a comfortable environment.
5. Seek More Support
While you're watching out for your loved one, don't neglect your own issues. Remember, supporting an individual in recovery is a challenging task. If you feel like you need help as well, consider contacting a family support group.
Seeking support comes with the added benefit of providing a good example. If your recovering family member knows about it, they'll be more likely to do the same.
More on Living With a Recovered Alcoholic
By following this advice, you'll be better prepared to help your loved one. Also, focus on addressing all their needs -- not just their addiction. A successful family-based support system must revolve around leading a normal life.