When a loved one announces that they plan to start the New Year sober, it can be an enormous relief. However, cutting back on drinking is just the first step. Recovery is an ongoing process and the support you offer your loved ones is often invaluable during their New Year's resolution.
Friends and family of people coping with substance use disorder are often at a loss for what they can do to help without creating more challenges along the road. Let's take a look at what you can do to help a loved one with their journey to sobriety.
Let Them Know You're Available
Many people have a hard time asking for help. Actively letting your loved one know that you are available to provide assistance and support through their recovery is a wonderful first step. If you can, be available to be a non-judgmental ear when they need to talk through their experiences. Checking-in regularly can also help them know that you are thinking about them and that, ultimately, they don't have to do this alone.
The amount of support you offer will depend on your relationship and their needs. While some will welcome the chance to talk, and for firm support, others may need help with practical matters like rides to outpatient treatment.
In any case, ask what they need for you to help them with their New Year resolution.
Provide a Substance-free Environment
Many people find, especially early in recovery, the fewer temptations there are around them, the better. Providing a safe environment where your loved one is not faced with triggers can provide the safe space that they need while they are healing.
While most people who are cutting back on drinking or other substances will eventually be faced with them at some point or another, a place free from those can be a literal lifesaver early on.
Over time, they will develop coping techniques that can help them identify triggers and avoid certain behaviors. But, by making your place a refuge in the early going, you are providing a place where they can safely grow.
If you can't provide that environment, residential housing can provide a welcome respite from the stress of everyday life. In sober living homes, residents are welcomed into a peaceful, safe and welcoming environment where they are able to continue working on their recovery while surrounded by others who are equally committed to living a life of recovery.
Promote Healthy Choices
Get in touch with your loved one regularly and suggest getting together for activities that help support their sobriety. For some people, this could include sports or outdoor activities — nature can provide the perfect backdrop for self healing and discovery. For others, it could be as simple as an art class or crafting session.
Only by talking to your loved one will you truly understand which activities are the best fit for them.
Don't Forget Self-care
Loving someone who is on the road to recovery can be a challenging experience. When it comes to self care, you can't pour from an empty pitcher.
If you are feeling depleted, you do not have enough in reserve to help support anyone else, make sure that you're looking after yourself. It's okay to prioritize yourself and give yourself the break that you need when you need it. By attending to your own health and well-being, you can be better prepared to offer the sort of support your loved one needs as they build a healthier future.
Ask For Support
Your loved one doesn't have to go on this journey alone.
If you, or someone you know, needs help with substance use or drinking don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here for you. At Aquila Recovery we use an integrated treatment approach to treat both substance use disorder and the co-occurring disorders, utilizing sober living homes to help clients on their journey to recovery. Each disorder needs its own treatment plan and our one-on-one support and small groups help identify and treat patients in a holistic way.