Every addict in New Jersey, or anywhere you look requires accommodations and treatment curated specifically to their personal needs and unique struggles in order to be successful in their recovery. However, there are a few things that everyone who suffers from drug and alcohol addiction, or really any addiction at all, require to reach active recovery:
1. They need to be in the right headspace:
Everyone knows that the first successful step toward recovery is to admit to yourself that you have an addiction. If someone can’t admit to themselves that they need help, they will never accept help no matter how forcefully it is thrust upon them. The idea of seeking treatment inherently requires the consent of the person going through the steps to recovery because even if they do succeed in getting sober, if they didn’t believe they had a problem to begin with, they will continue their habits after they leave treatment.
2. They need to seek treatment:
Once a person admits to themselves that they need help they have to take the next very difficult step of asking for help. Even though admitting to yourself that you have a problem can be demoralizing and humiliating, even if just personally, admitting to someone outside of you that you are compulsively abusing an intoxicating substance so much so that you have formed a chemical dependence to the drug can feel more than just demoralizing, in fact it can feel like one of the most raw and vulnerable moments in someone’s life.
3. They need to have a strong support system:
When someone suffering from drug and alcohol addiction takes the above steps and gets help the thing they need more than anything is a strong support structure behind them. That’s where the person’s friends and family come into play. It can be an intimidating place to be for someone. After all a friend or family member of someone suffering from addiction didn’t chose this situation and in fact, it is possible that the addiction in question has already negatively affected the friend or family member. But it is vital for them to know that while they didn’t chose the addiction, neither did the person suffering from it. Addiction is a chronic disease for which someone cannot simply turn a switch and stop using whatever substance from which they suffer a chemical dependence. Instead they must ask for help and go to treatment, come home and continue active recovery perpetually. They will never be cured. They will be facing relapse for the rest of their lives. It is a difficult journey and sometimes the only thing that helps someone through that, sometimes, demoralizing reality is a friend who is willing to listen to them vent, or a family member who listens to them talk to them at weird hours of the night because they woke up terrified and triggered. Sometimes nothing can help like a trusted friend or loved one.
How To Be The Best Support You Can
When one of your friends or family members develops a problem with drugs or alcohol it can be hard to know what to say to someone. It can be scary to watch someone you love be the puppet of a chemical dependence. It can also make someone feel depressed, heartbroken, disappointed, or even angry. It’s okay to feel these things. It’s valid. Having someone close to you suffer from this kind of tragic disease can make you feel a lot of negative emotions. The most important thing that you can do when facing those feelings is to look at them through a lens of compassion and the awareness that addiction is indeed a disease that is incurable and that even after successful treatment the person suffering from addiction will still be an addict. They will still suffer from triggers and cravings in spite of their own desires for permanent and secure sobriety.
It can feel like it really doesn’t matter what you say, you will fail. It will either be too forward, presumptuous, or it will sound negative and judgemental. You might feel like it doesn’t matter what you do or what you say, you can never fix the problem so why say anything at all? What if you even make your friend or family member feel worse than they already do? The only way to really fail here is to not say anything at all. If you’re worrying about how you may or not make your friend or loved one feel bad, you’ll probably be fine. Be honest and clear in your words and just talk to them. The kind of shame that is so often the foundation of addiction is only fed by silence. Even if you feel frustrated or angry, try to communicate with them. Here are some ways you can make your friend or loved one feel at east and supported:
- First thing’s first, The first step to being there for someone getting back from an addiction treatment, New Jersey detox and rehab, is to let them know that you missed them and thought about them while they were away at treatment, and that you are so excited to see them home and sober. It can feel lonely for a person who is suffering with an addiction to leave the safe bubble of a treatment center. Sometimes they will feel ashamed that they were at a treatment facility at all. Telling the addict in your life that you cared about them before they went to detox and rehab and that you care about them now that they are back as well can mean everything to them.
- It is a heroic act to face one’s addiction. The way that society treats someone suffering from addiction disorder can make it feel almost impossible for someone suffering with the disease to feel like they can come forward and ask for help. Actually seeking that help and successfully going through a treatment program is cause for praise. Let the person suffering from addiction in your life know that you see their bravery. Having someone recognize their bravery and affirm their choices can make a huge difference when they are struggling to remember why they even try to stay sober.
- When someone comes home from an addiction treatment program there are few things they need more than having someone whom they know they can call when they need to talk. Knowing they have someone who will listen to them when they need to vent, cry, or worry with can make all of the difference in their recovery. It doesn’t mean that you need to be a doormat, or put their needs above yours. it is just a commitment to be there whenever you are able to be. When a person is seeking help for a chemical dependence or any kind of addiction at all, it becomes extra vital that they have a strong support system of people they trust who are willing to be in their court when they need it. Maybe it sounds too good to be true that this will be as helpful as it sounds. But offering them an ear can add to resilience and help them realize that they shouldn’t give in to the shame spiral that haunts them and is a symptom of their disease.
- If your friend or family member suffering from addiction has children there’s a super easy and super life saving way that you can support them. Offer your help by telling them you’d be happy to hang out with their kiddos. Even if you don’t think you have a whole afternoon to dedicate to them, try offering them just an hour or two. Staying sober requires time to one’s self. Not a ton, but someone who needs to reflect on themselves and their behavior needs some peace and quiet regularly, and with small children around it becomes hard for parents to find time to themselves. As a parent with mouths to feed, homework to help with, fights to break up, life can be chaotic and stressful. If you can give your friend a break by helping with homework one night, or walking their kids to the park on a saturday for an hour or two, it can give your friend or family member time to take a walk, go for a run, take a shower, clean the kitchen, or write in their journals, among other self care type activities. This is by far the most effective way to help a parent of small children.
- Leaving the restaurant, the coffeeshop, or your kitchen table and venturing out into nature by taking a hike or a walk and moving your bodies is not only an excellent way to hang out with your friend, but it’s great for their overall wellbeing as well as your own. Being outside and moving can be refreshing. There’s something more than symbolic about physical movement while you’re dealing with rigorous mental and emotional movement. Not only that, but it is a documented and scientific fact that exercise even in the most modest of ways can help a person process anxiety and deal with depression more effectively.
Finding Treatment In Addiction Treatment: New Jersey Detox and Rehab Centers
The most useful you can be to a friend or family member is to treat them with the same love and respect that you would want to be treated in the same situation that they are in. Compassion and love go a long way and will help your friend or family member to feel like they matter, which is a huge step in keeping them on the sober road.
Dr. Joseph Ranieri D.O. earned his BS in Pharmacy at Temple University School of Pharmacy in 1981 and His Doctorate Degree in Osteopathic Medicine at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in 1991. He is Board Certified by the American Board of Family Medicine and a Diplomate of the American Board of Preventive Medicine Addiction Certification. Dr. Ranieri has lectured extensively to physicians, nurses, counselors and laypeople about the Disease of Addiction throughout New Jersey and Pennsylvania since 2012.