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Support Systems: How to Create a Safety Net For a Family Member with an Addiction

When dealing with addiction, an individual may feel lonely, lost, and may begin to believe that they’ll never get better. These feelings of hopelessness can hinder an addict’s recovery, which is why it’s essential to set up robust support systems for family members who are struggling with alcohol or drug dependency. To establish an effective support system, though, you and your family need to be able to identify the aspects that make up a positive support group, as well as what benefits this group can offer your struggling loved one.

What is a Support System? 

A support system is comprised of people who provide encouragement or reinforcement to an individual, and in terms of substance dependency, help them face the difficulties associated with substance abuse. The idea here is that a support system will provide the individual with the guidance they need while navigating through the recovery process. It’s vital for an individual suffering from dependency to have these support systems to help mitigate failure by providing an empathetic and sober perspective. 

Why a Support System is Crucial 

It’s easy to look at the road to recovery as a solo journey, but this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Substance dependency affects everyone, from the individual dealing with it to their friends and family. It’s nearly impossible to get through reliance alone, which makes support systems such a valuable tool in beating dependency. Take Alcoholics Anonymous, for example. This organization is widely popular and has been known to help those dealing with alcohol abuse turn their lives around. They’re considered a support system because they provide a safe and positive environment for people to open up about their problems. Here are some other benefits that support systems offer: 

  • Positive Peer Pressure: Peer pressure can be one of the leading contributors to the development of an addiction, but it can also be a powerful tool in the recovery process. Positive peer pressure and reinforcement can help your family member feel empowered to make better decisions and motivate them to stop abusing.
  • A Lifeline for Difficult Times: There’s nothing more harmful to an individual’s recovery than loneliness, depression, anxiety, and fear. Humans are inherently social creatures, and while it varies from person to person, human interaction with your loved one will help liven up their spirits and keep them on the right track.
  • It Gives the Individual a Voice: Just like a therapist or counselor, a support system gives your family member a place to speak their mind and express their feelings. This can be highly alleviating for them and can provide them with the strength to fight their addiction. 

How to Be Effective as a Support System

Rounding up your family members isn’t enough to provide a stable support system for a struggling individual. It’s up to you and the rest of the family to commit to making this group as positive, empathetic, and supportive as possible if you want to make a difference on the recoveree. The best ways that you can support someone in your family on their road to recovery is by: 

  • Being Accepting: The stigma behind addiction is enough to make someone feel ashamed to talk about their issues with loved ones. These individuals often feel judged and inferior to others, which is why as a support group, you need to be as accepting as possible. Find ways to encourage the individual and safeguard their sobriety rather than potentially making them feel guilty. Acceptance is the first step in creating that trust with them and making them see that there are people who care about them and want to see them beat their habits.
  • Be Available: Forming a support group is a huge responsibility and one that should not be taken lightly. You and everyone involved in your support group must be available for the individual if they need you. A support group won’t be adequate for someone dealing with a substance dependency if they can’t get a hold of anyone, making it more likely to relapse and give up on the process entirely.
  • Be Informed: The best way to get through to your family member is by making sure that you’re informed on addiction and how you can be the best support system possible throughout their recovery process. Being informed will also help you approach the situation in a more empathetic way, helping you push aside biases and feelings of resentment, anger, and disappointment toward your loved one. 
  • Be Patient: The road to recovery is a long and arduous one at times. It can be easy to get frustrated, both on the recoveree and the support group side of things, which is why practicing patience is crucial in maintaining a positive and stable support system. Remember that your family member may refuse help or get defensive at some point in the process, and they may even relapse. This is all part of the journey, and you should stay by their side and encourage them every step of the way to help pick them up when they’re feeling discouraged. Staying true to them and sticking by their side through the most challenging parts of the process will fortify their trust in you and make recovering feel that much easier every day. 

Find Your Support System at Ardu Recovery Center

Support systems are necessary when trying to overcome addiction, but there’s no better place to turn for effective holistic and medical therapies than Ardu Recovery Center in Provo, Utah. We tailor our rehab programs to each resident to provide them with the best treatment options for their situation. We work around the clock for your loved ones to help them get back on their feet and on the road to recovery. If you’re interested in learning more about our state-of-the-art detox and residential treatment center and how it can help your loved one on their journey, give us a call today.