Tips for Helping a Person in Recovery from Drugs or Alcohol
Helping someone who struggles with drug or alcohol addiction achieve recovery is a process that is different for everyone.
In most cases, the individual needs to have an internal motivation to obtain his or her own sobriety. Thus, it can be difficult for someone to help another person obtain their own sobriety.
If you know someone who is battling an addiction, here are some things you can do to help support them on a path to recovery:
- Foster motivation and encouragement: One of the main challenges is providing an environment that is both supporting and challenging. Those who struggle with addiction tend to isolate themselves from others in an effort to continue engaging in behaviors that are toxic toward their well-being. Encouraging individuals with addiction to become connected to others is a crucial component in early stages of recovery as well as to promote long-term sobriety.
- Help them find a support system. Connection can come in the form of support groups (such as Narcotics Anonymous, ALANO, etc.), residential inpatient services, intensive outpatient services, religious organizations, community outreach centers, or hospital programs. Essentially, the goal is to help the person build a support system that is based in healthy interpersonal relationships. Research has shown that individuals suffering from addiction tend to have decreased levels of self-worth, self-awareness, and fractured identities due to the multitude of issues that arise out or from the use of illicit substances.
- Promote self-awareness. It is important to promote and encourage a greater understanding of oneself and how the self relates to the various contextual or environmental factors within a society. Being aware of the self helps normalize the negative emotional, cognitive, or behavioral aspects of addiction.
- Just be there. When a person who is struggling with addiction begins to realize that he or she is not alone in this world, a shift in cognitive processing tends to take place. Within that change, one may be more open to suggestions and begin addressing the various issues that have contributed to or worsened their addiction.
In order to maintain sobriety, one must first understand what purpose the drug use was serving. Once that is established, the real healing (recovery) can begin.
About the author: Joseph Rizzo, MA, TLLP, is the Lead Counselor & Outpatient Director at Mariners Inn, a nonprofit substance abuse treatment center and shelter for homeless men in Detroit. Serving Southeast Michigan since 1925, Mariners Inn has become a nationally acclaimed treatment center focused on alleviating the problems of homelessness and substance abuse.
Mariners Inn will host its annual River Rhythm Gala Friday, Nov. 6 at Detroit’s MotorCity Casino. All proceeds will directly benefit the mission of Mariners Inn. Click here for more information.
Photo credit: Kelsey Graeter (main), Courtesy Photo (Joseph Rizzo)
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