When you have a dear friend that suffers from a drug addiction, it may be difficult to maintain being a supportive pal when you see them lose jobs and other opportunities due to substance abuse. If your friend decides to attempt to kick their habit and enroll in a detox program, you can become an ally in their journey in a myriad of ways.
Attend Friend and Family Support Groups
Many drug addiction treatment centers offer support groups for family and close friends of patients. Find out if the program your friend is a part of offers support groups so you can provide tangible proof that you are on their side in their fight to overcome addiction.
Support groups can also help you understand addiction better and how the recovery process works. You may be surprised to learn about the genetic and environmental causes of drug dependence.
In addition, you may acquire skills that can help you to avoid becoming an enabler, set boundaries with addicts and become less judgmental about drug users and failed efforts at treatment.
Practice Good Listening
When you get the opportunity to interact with a friend undergoing treatment for addiction, resist the urge to talk about yourself and ramble on so you can focus on listening.
If you listen carefully, you may be able to get a deeper understanding of the turmoil your friend is experiencing. You do not want to talk over them so they do not become frustrated or irritated and feel as if you are not listening.
When you are listening, keep in mind the following tips.
- Be patient during long pauses. Let your friend finish their thoughts on their own time.
- Try to keep your replies focused on reinforcing the positive things your friend talks about.
- Avoid negative body language as you listen like crossing your arms, avoiding eye contact, turning away from your friend when they are talking and pointing at your friend when you speak.
Educate Yourself on the Signs of a Relapse
It may take your friend more than one stint in a recovery program to finally become drug free. You can avoid getting taken by surprise when a friend lands in rehab again by learning the signs of a relapse. Some common signs of a relapse include:
- Changes in the daily routine that your friend began after a stint in recovery.
- Withdrawal from friends and family as your friend begins to isolate themselves from loved ones.
- Professional setbacks like the loss of a job.
- Failure to keep appointments and social commitments.
If possible, try to remind your friend of how far they have come in recovering from addiction when you notice these signs. You can also attempt to include them in social and recreational activities to distract them from their drug cravings. Contact a business, such as Evergreen Recovery Centers, for more information.