Start Taking Care of Yourself and Your Family FIRST
While you are running around worrying about and cleaning up after other's addictive messes, you probably have lost focus on other areas of your life.
When you constantly put other's needs first, you may think you are being a good person, but you are really just hurting yourself, your family and breeding resentment.
You need to have a life that is as normal as possible, no matter what others are doing.
•Maintain normal family activities – church, school plays, baseball practice, etc.
•Eat your meals together
•Get plenty of sleep and exercise
•Visit with family and friends – don’t isolate yourself
•Keep an eye on your health – stress can damage your immune system
•Practice stress-reducing techniques – yoga, meditation, etc.
The Tree of Life Concept is a visual metaphor in which a tree represents
your life and the various elements that make it up–past, present, and future. By labeling these parts, you not only begin to discover aspects of yourself shaped by the past, but you can then begin to actively cultivate your tree to reflect the kind of person you want to be moving forward.
Learn More about the Disease of Addiction and the Process of Recovery
Addiction is a disease, and the more you know about that disease, the better-equipped you will be to effectively guard against harm to you and your family.
It’s important to fully understand the disease concept of addiction, because then you can step away from the “shame and blame game”, where often resent forms for some supposed moral weakness or, alternatively, shoulder the blame and responsibility yourself.
When you treat addiction as a medical illness, you understand that it is no one’s fault. Instead of focusing on the afflicted person, you can begin to focus on the disease and on strategies for successful management.
If Your Loved One Goes to Treatment, Stay Supportive
In a best case desirable scenario, your friend, loved one or spouse goes to treatment. While they are receiving that treatment, there are things you can do to support them:
•Take care of yourself and your family – give them something to come back to.
•Follow the recommendations of the treatment team.
•Participate in family therapy meetings.
•Most rehab facilities have a short “adjustment period” where phone calls and communication with the outside world are suspended. Respect that, and give your loved one the time they need to focus on their own recovery.
•Alternatively, when contact is allowed – visit, write, and call.
•Stay POSITIVE in all of your conversation and letters.
•Be patient – recovery is a process. Your loved one did not become addicted overnight. They won’t recover overnight, either.
Find Ways to Connect With Others in Your Situation
You’ve been through a terrible situation, and maybe it’s been years since life seemed normal. It’s important for you to connect with others who can share in your experiences. Finding a peer support group near you is a great first step. You’ll get to meet others and learn from what they’ve been through as well. It can be so helpful to share your story with others. Sometimes it helps just to be able to talk about how you feel among a caring group of people who understand.
‘To every action there is an equal reaction.’
It’s a scientific law in the universe and that law includes every part of your life... from the work you do, to your family, friends and other people and your own opinion of yourself.
You are responsible for your own life. You create your own life. Every thought and word and action that you have also has an equal reaction.