Practical Tips for Christians Supporting a Loved One in Recovery
There are plenty of resources for those in addiction recovery, but often loved ones feel like they are on the outside looking in. Navigating this relationship can seem impossible at times. Trust has been broken, relationships have been abused or neglected, financial obligations are ignored, and legal troubles are accumulated.. So the beginning of this journey to recovery together can be difficult. Here are some practical tips to help you support your loved one who has decided to turn their lives around.
Things To Avoid
It is important to be mindful of certain actions or approaches that may not be helpful or productive. Here are some things to avoid:
Avoid making excuses for their behavior and providing financial support for substance use or covering up the consequences of their actions. Enabling can inadvertently prolong the addiction and hinder the motivation to seek help. Facing the natural consequences of behavior is a strong motivator for change. his is understandably difficult, but dealing with consequences is a vital part of learning. God’s word says that He disciplines His children out of love:
Hebrews 12:5-6 “And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”
Blaming, Shaming, Judging, and Criticizing
Avoid any blaming or shaming of the one struggling with addiction because it is a complex issue with underlying factors. Assigning blame creates feelings of guilt, shame, and resentment which all hindering the path to recovery. Refrain from judging or criticizing the addiction. Negative judgment and using guilt or manipulation as tactics to control only only further damage the relationship and mak it harder for one to be transparent about t their struggles.. These approaches damage trust, making it more challenging for them to seek help willingly.
Ignoring or Denying The Problem
Ignoring the addiction of a loved one is a path that can lead to detrimental consequences for both the individual and their loved ones. Addiction is a complex and progressive disease that requires attention and intervention. By turning a blind eye to the problem, loved ones inadvertently enable the destructive cycle to continue unchecked. Ignoring the addiction denies the opportunity for healing, recovery, and restoration. It can perpetuate feelings of isolation, shame, and despair for the one struggling, while also causing strain within family dynamics. Acknowledging and addressing the addiction openly and honestly allows for the possibility of seeking professional help, offering support, and creating an environment conducive to change and healing. Ignoring the addiction only prolongs the suffering and delays the potential for a brighter future.
Active addiction has a way of leaching the life out of friends and loved ones. Addiction causes one to become unabashedly selfish. For this reason loved ones are often counseled to keep a healthy distance. When supporting a loved one in recovery, it is vital to prioritize your own well-being and self-care As this journey is deeply challenging and emotionally demanding, often taking a toll on the mental, emotional, and physical health of everyone involved.
By prioritizing self-care, loved ones are able to maintain strength, resilience, and the ability to offer support effectively. Taking time for rest, seeking support from others, engaging in activities that bring joy and fulfillment, and practicing self-compassion all contribute to providing a stable and supportive environment for the loved one in recovery, without experiencing burnout or resentment. Prioritizing self-care sustains the energy, patience, and understanding needed to navigate the ups and downs of the recovery journey, promoting everyone’s overall well-being.
It’s crucial to maintain hope and believe in the human capacity for change. Addiction recovery is a challenging process, and setbacks may occur. Continue to offer support, love, and encouragement, even in difficult times. Remember that only God can
Things To Embrace
Take the time to learn all you can about addiction and the challenges of recovery.. Understanding the nature of addiction can help you provide informed support. There are countless free resources books, articles, and reputable online resources that provide information about addiction, its causes, effects, and available treatment options. Seek out individuals with personal experiences of addiction and recovery.
Showing Unconditional Love
Express your love and support for your loved one consistently. Remind them that they are valued and accepted, regardless of their past struggles. When we do this, we are not excusing their past behavior, but conveying that your love for them is intact. This can help build trust and foster a sense of security. Be present and attentive when your loved one wants to share their thoughts, feelings, or experiences. Validate their emotions and let them know you are there to listen without judgment.
Encouraging Professional Help
Encourage your loved one to seek professional help and follow their treatment plan. At Adult & Teen Challenge, we believe that long-term residential treatment is the most effective, but may not be possible for everyone. Offer assistance in finding other reputable treatment centers or therapists with a faith-based approach.
Being A Spiritual Guide
Incorporate prayer into your family routine. Pray for your loved one’s healing, strength, and guidance. Involve them in prayer as well, allowing them to express their own needs and desires. Encourage your loved one to engage in spiritual activities, such as attending church, joining support groups, or participating in Bible studies. Spiritual guidance can provide them with a strong foundation and a sense of purpose.
Matthew 5:16 “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
Providing Practical Support
During the recovery process, offer practical assistance when needed, such as helping with transportation to treatment, group or individual therapy, or appointments. Offer some assistance with daily tasks and responsibilities, such as grocery shopping, meal preparation, cleaning, or running errands. These tasks can feel overwhelming during the early stages of recovery, so lending a helping hand can alleviate some of the stress, while at the same time avoiding enabling
Support them in establishing and maintaining healthy habits such as engaging in physical activities, eating nutritious meals, or encouraging them to participate in hobbies or activities that promote wellness and positive self-care.
Staying Steadfast, Positive, and Encouraging
Remind your loved one of their progress and the positive changes they have made. Focus on their strengths and remind them of their potential. Acknowledge their progress and celebrate milestones and achievements in their recovery journey. This can be as simple as offering words of encouragement, planning a small celebration, or giving them a token of recognition for their efforts.
Remember, each person’s recovery journey is unique, and it’s important to tailor your support to their individual needs. Be patient, compassionate, and prayerful as you walk alongside them during their recovery process. Unfortunately, we can not make the decision to seek treatment for them, and treatment will not work for them if they have not made that decision themselves.
If you or your loved one is ready to make the decision to change their lives for good, please call Adult & Teen Challenge at 1-855-404-HOPE