Robin Barnett, author of the book Addict in the House: A No-Nonsense Guide Through Addiction & Recovery points out that addiction thrives on isolation, shadows, and secrets. Not only does this isolation affect the individual suffering from the addiction; the isolation can also be experienced by the addict's spouse, children, family, and friends.
In order to combat this isolation, she urges that couples and families can offer support to those early in recovery. Another writer and therapist, Steven Gifford, adds that family involvement is an key support piece to a person before, during, and after a substance abuse treatment program.
Barnett recommends that in the delicate period of early recovery, spouses and families can offer support to their loved one in several ways (I'll summarize them here):
1) Acknowledge the hard work your loved one is doing to maintain sobriety
2) Focus on and ask about what the loved one in recovery is doing.
3) Help your loved one make recovery the number one priority by taking part in recovery activities.
4) Suggest fun activities to do with your loved one.
5) Pay attention to any signs or symptoms of relapse--and share those concerns with your loved one.
The most important thing to keep in mind is recovery is not something a person should have to work at alone. It works best with the support and participation of others--both professionals and personal family members and friends.
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