A Family Member’s Guide to Self-Care

Family Support in recovery

Anyone who has a loved one battling substance abuse knows that addiction doesn’t just affect one person – it affects everyone. Friends, family members, coworkers, and everyone who cares about that person become entrenched in this cycle of stress and worry. Even if that person seeks out treatment, those individuals still need to be finding ways to relax and take care of themselves.

 Why Self-Care is Important

Self-care is needed for a person to feel mentally, physically, and spiritually fit. When a person begins taking care of these three crucial aspects to wellbeing, they’re practicing self-care.

 Family members – both individually and as a whole – need to practice self-care regularly to jumpstart the healing process. Of course, a person must be ready for healing and recovery in order for self-care practices to truly work. Nobody wants to simply go through the motions, so these activities are meant to be fully explored for a person to find what works best for them. There are a number of self-care activities that can be pursued by family members, such as:

  • Al-Anon Meetings – by attending 12-Step programs like Al-Anon meetings, family members can get to know other families who’ve been impacted by addiction and help them process what they’ve gone through.
  • Diary Writing – when we spend some time writing out the events of our day and our thoughts, feelings, and outlooks on life, we gain a lot of valuable insight. We discover some of the pains that are hidden beneath the surface – and we’re much better equipped to deal with issues that seem to arise, like patterns.
  • Quality Time Alone – by spending some time alone, family members can breathe and focus on nothing but breathing and healing. It takes time for our thoughts and feelings to solidify, primarily to process them – but quality time alone can help.
  • Exercise – as many studies have shown, exercise can significantly help a person relieve stress and also help improve a person’s mood. Even a simple walk for fresh air can do wonders for a cluttered mind.
  • Emphasizing connection – even though family members may be hurting, they can regain some strength by leaning on other family members throughout this time. There are so many different worries, feelings, and thoughts that may be taking place – but having others to relate to can make the situation better.

 Recovery for Family: A Spiritual Journey

Spiritual Health is crucial for family members to regain their strength in themselves, others, and the world. Addiction can cause many family members to lose faith or hope in their loved one, in humanity, and their own ability to cope. The spiritual journey is of utmost importance, however, and by looking at this as a spiritual journey, we can learn to rely on a Higher Power to help us through these troubling times.

 Spiritual practices, like praying, reading inspirational books, going for nature walks, listening to uplifting music, and participating in recovery-related volunteer activities, can help family members adjust to the raw experience that comes with addiction. From there, family members can heal. Many family members battle with several thoughts, such as:

  • Not being able to trust their loved one
  • Worrying that their loved one may drop out of treatment
  • Confused as to how their loved one became addicted to substances
  • Sadness and feeling as though they’ve let their loved one down
  • Anger
  • Guilt, especially if family members feel they’ve enabled the addiction to occur
  • And more

 When we take a step back and recognize that we don’t have to do this alone, that’s when many people begin to heal. The strength of having God as part of our recovery process means that we’re not left to figure all of this out by ourselves.

 Seek Help Today

12-Step programs for family members and friends (such as Al-Anon) can provide family members with a supportive group of people who are also trying to find calm amongst the storm. Previous researchers have explored the idea of Al-Anon and its effects on family members. It’s been said that family members who pursue this type of support are more likely to reap the benefits later than those who try and deal with everything on their own.

If you have a loved one who is currently struggling with addiction, consider hosting an intervention. An intervention can be a challenging and emotionally charged experience for all involved, but it is often necessary. By sitting your loved one down with a trained moderator, you may finally be able to break through to them. Don’t give up on the addict in your life. We know that they’ve hurt you and let you down countless times in the past, but hope is key to recovery. This can be a difficult process for some so please reach out to Choice House to speak with someone who may be able to help you find a professional interventionist so that your loved one can get the help they so desperately need. Choice House is a comprehensive recovery solution in Boulder, Colorado. Find a new way to live with Choice House. Call us today at (720) 577-4422 to learn more.


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