10 powerful ways to support a family member in addiction recovery

Addiction can put enormous strain on loved ones but the support of your family can also be the single most powerful weapon in your recovery arsenal.

When someone you love is struggling with addiction, it can be a challenging experience that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and unsure of how to help. However, with the right guidance and support, you can play an essential role in your loved one’s recovery journey.

In this article, we’ll explore ten powerful and unique ways that families can support a loved one with addiction. These strategies can help you create a safe, supportive and compassionate recovery environment and empower your loved one to take control of their life again.

1. Educate yourself on addiction

Knowledge is power, and when it comes to supporting a family member with an addiction, education is essential. Learn as much as you can about the specific addiction your loved one is struggling with and the impact it is having on their life.

Getting a better understanding of addiction will not only help you provide the right support but will also make you more empathetic to your loved one’s situation. Addiction and the behaviours it causes can lead to a lot of pain but once you understand that it is the addiction that is causing the issues, not your loved one, it can be easier to forgive.

2. Prioritise communication

Open and honest communication is crucial when supporting someone with addiction as the condition can cause sufferers to become secretive and deceitful. Encourage your loved one to express their feelings and emotions freely and listen to them with compassion and without judgement. This will show them that you can be a trusted confidante during the recovery process and that they don’t need to suffer alone.

Communication is also essential for setting clear boundaries and expectations. For example, if you make it clear that your support is based on them giving 100% to recovery, your loved one will know that they need to step up. This doesn’t mean giving them an ultimatum – it just means explaining that you will help in any way you can as long as they are willing to commit to change.

3. Attend family therapy

Addiction is often called a “family disease” because it affects not just the individual but their entire family too. Family therapy can help improve communication, rebuild trust and create a supportive and safe environment for your loved one’s recovery.

At Oasis Bradford, we offer valuable help for families of addicts through our family therapy sessions. These are a key part of our comprehensive rehab programmes and we encourage loved ones to attend whenever possible. Family therapy can help you to repair relationships, gain better insights into your loved one’s addiction and learn how to provide the best possible support.


Support a family member - family therapy


4. Encourage healthy habits

Addiction can take a toll on both the mind and body so encourage your loved one to engage in healthy habits such as exercise, mindfulness and healthy eating to support their overall well-being. This can be a daunting step, particularly if their addiction has caused a lot of health issues so taking up new hobbies together can help them feel less anxious.

Some popular activities in addiction recovery include hiking, yoga and meditation, all of which can help to cultivate a healthy mind and body.

5. Look after yourself

Supporting a loved one through drug or alcohol rehab can be emotionally and physically draining so it’s crucial to take care of yourself. Practice self-care activities such as meditation or yoga, spend time with friends and family or just take an afternoon off to relax and unwind. Not only will this help with your own mental health, but it will also re-energise you to keep giving your full support.

If you are feeling completely burned out, speak to friends or other members of the family and see if they can help out more. This may include them visiting your loved one in alcohol or drug rehab when you need a day off or them taking care of your home responsibilities so that you can visit or attend family therapy. This support for families of addicts can be a godsend so if you are reading this because you know someone whose family member has an addiction, reach out and see how you can help.

6. Offer practical help

At Oasis Bradford, we believe that inpatient rehab treatment is the most effective way to overcome addiction as it provides an immersive recovery environment where there are no triggers or everyday stressors. However, this does mean that your family member will need to stay in rehab as a resident during their treatment.

Offering practical help can make a significant difference as they will be less worried about what is going on outside and will be able to focus on getting better. This may mean taking care of their normal household chores, assisting with childcare or even running their small business. If possible, create a rota or divide these responsibilities between your family members so that nobody is left doing it all alone.


Support a family member - helping hand


7. Avoid enabling behaviours

Enabling behaviours such as making excuses for your loved one’s behaviour, covering up for them and giving them money only perpetuates addiction and hinders recovery. Avoiding these behaviours can be very difficult, particularly if they seem to bring some temporary relief to a loved one who is suffering.

However, the key word here is temporary and if you continue to enable your loved one’s addiction, they will never be able to make the necessary changes. Instead, offer support that encourages accountability and sobriety, such as attending recovery meetings and support groups together or helping them get professional help.

8. Set realistic expectations

Addiction recovery is a challenging and often unpredictable journey and it’s essential to set realistic expectations for your loved one’s recovery. Remember that recovery is a journey, not a destination and that every step forward is a step in the right direction.

Part of setting realistic expectations is to recognise when your loved one truly is trying to change. This can be difficult if they have made false promises before or if multiple relapses have taken a toll on your family. However, it’s vital to understand that obstacles will appear on the road to recovery and that relapses may occur even if your loved one is giving 100%. Be supportive, discuss setbacks and progress with your family and move forwards together.

9. Celebrate sobriety

Addiction recovery can be a long and challenging journey but celebrating your loved one’s sobriety can help reinforce the importance of recovery and provide motivation to keep going. Celebrate every milestone, achievement and success and remind your loved one of how far they have come.

Celebrating sobriety will not only help your loved one feel supported and encouraged to continue on their path to recovery but will also bring your family closer together. This can be particularly important if there are members of the family who are sceptical (this can happen if a loved one has struggled with addiction for a long time) as seeing that real progress is being made can help bring them on board.


Support a family member - celebrating sobriety


10. Consider sobriety yourself

One final way to support a family member with addiction is to consider sobriety yourself. While sobriety isn’t for everyone, and it isn’t something you should feel pressured into doing just because your family member has addiction struggles, it can be a powerful and positive step.

Choosing can demonstrate your commitment to supporting your loved one’s recovery and help create a supportive environment. It can also help you better understand the challenges and rewards of sobriety so that you can provide support and empathy from a position of experience.

How to get help

If your loved one is struggling with addiction, encourage them to seek professional help. Oasis Bradford offers a comprehensive range of addiction treatment services, including detoxification, residential rehabilitation and aftercare support. Our team of experienced and compassionate professionals is dedicated to helping individuals overcome addiction and also provides help for family members of addicts throughout the rehab process.

Contact Oasis Bradford with your loved one today and help them take the first step towards a brighter future. Our support for families of addicts is second to none and we will ensure that you are involved and guided through every stage of your loved one’s recovery.