When Does Familial Support Become Smothering During the Recovery Process?

It’s rare for most people struggling with alcoholism or drug addiction to seek out recovery help on their own. It’s usually up to friends and family members to recognize the signs of addiction and to convince the individual to seek help via one on one discussions or through interventions. Familial support at this early phase of the recovery process is essential in helping people struggling with addiction recognize that there is a problem.

However, once an addict recognizes that they need help and locate the treatment facility that offers them the best recovery plan for their situation, familial involvement can become a hindrance to recovery. A recovering addict needs the time to focus on getting clean and learning to resist the triggers that initially caused them to develop an addiction. This is a crucial time that requires solitude and the freedom to focus on the beginning stages of treatment.

Familial Support is Discouraged During the Early Stage of Recovery

As your loved one enters an addiction treatment center, you’ll find that you won’t be able to visit or contact your loved one. There are a few reasons that treatment facilities restrict visitations during the first few weeks of an individual’s recovery program. Primarily, this is a time to unlearn bad habits. Seeing familiar faces and discussing the issues that may have led to substance abuse will detract from this effort, so addicts are isolated from those situations.

Additionally, an important part of the recovery process is to bond with other recovering addicts. If an individual is still interacting with family members, they will find fewer reasons to confide in the other participants in the recovery program. This type of bonding is essential, because group therapy sessions rely on building trust among the participants. Once they get to know the other recovering addicts in the facility, each individual will be allowed familial visits.

Smothering Can Start Before an Addict Returns Home

When you’re notified that your loved one is able to receive visits at the recovery facility, you should ask about any specific guidelines for the visits. In general, you will want to keep your visits positive and upbeat to avoid leaving the individual with negative feelings. This can hamper their recovery especially if the individual is also being treated for a co-occurring mental illness, such as depression.

You’ll also want to avoid talking about the future, money concerns, or living arrangements. While these are important issues, they can wait until later in the recovery process. At this time, a recovering addict’s sole focus should be to adapt to a clean living lifestyle. That, in itself, is a challenging process that will be stressful enough without the added worries that go along with returning to the outside world.

Leaving Recovery is When Smothering Does the Most Damage

When your loved one does return home, they will need your help to adjust to a world in which the rules of recovery are less strictly enforced. By this time, you know that there isn’t a cure for addiction and that your loved one will always be practicing the lessons learned in the treatment center to stay clean. You can best help them by keeping recreational drugs and alcohol out of the home. You should also keep prescription medications locked away and out of sight. These are triggers that can lead to a relapse, so some adjustments in the home will be necessary.

While your recovering family member will need support, it’s also important not to smother them as they adjust to living a healthier and cleaner lifestyle. Continuously checking to make sure the recovering addict is attending meetings, avoiding triggers, and staying clean can do more harm than good. While your heart may be in the right place, these acts can raise feelings of resentment. This kind of smothering can also become a trigger in itself, pushing the individual to use again as a form of escapism. While you should show an interest, let the recovering addict determine how involved you are in this process. If you’re unsure, you can always ask them how you can help.

If you do have a family member who is struggling with addiction, we can help you find the right treatment for your loved one. Our counselors are standing by to talk to you 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 844-639-8371. We’ll be happy to discuss our treatment options and answer any questions you may have about the recovery process. Addiction help is just one phone call away.

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