It’s been said that addiction recovery is a process and not an event. In other words, the addict will need to continue to work on his or her recovery for the rest of his or her life. Family members can help addicts begin that process by staging an intervention and crafting an addiction treatment program with the help of experts, but family members will need to stay committed to that recovery for the long term.
Study after study has shown the importance of family involvement in long-term addiction recovery success. In one such study, published in the Journal of Substance Abuse, family conflicts were associated with high levels of addiction relapse. Family members who, by contrast, stay supportive throughout treatment and provide emotional support can truly help the addict succeed.
Providing this sort of support means staying involved. While the addict is ultimately responsible for doing the heavy lifting and following all of the steps outlined in the aftercare treatment program, the family can still play a key role by:
Tips from an Interventionist
Not using drugs or alcohol in the presence of the addict. If the person is recovering from a gambling addiction, the family should avoid online games. Removing temptation from the addict’s immediate presence is a way to show solidarity.
Providing a listening ear. The addict may need to talk, at length, about the addiction or the addict may want to make amends for past wrongs.
Supporting therapy. Offering to drive the addict to appointments or meeting the addict for coffee after a meeting is a subtle way of showing support.
Expressing pride. During an intervention, the family talks at length about the addict’s disappointing behaviors. During recovery, families can turn the tide by expressing their happiness at the changes they see.