As Thanksgiving passes and we wait for Christmas and the new year, we enter that time of year we inevitably call the holiday season. And with the holiday season, we typically look to incorporate feelings of joy, of connectedness, of community, of family, and of unselfishness. We begin to take stock of all we have and what we can do for someone else to make their lives better. In that spirit, for the families that have a loved one suffering from addiction, what better gift to give them this year than recovery? What great gift to bestow to someone than sobriety?
Now, as we all know, no one can truly “give” someone else recovery or sobriety. Recovery from addiction is not a gift that can be wrapped by a loved one and handed to their family member. Recovery is a process. Recovery is a journey of action that the individual must embark on themselves. Whether the individual is internally motivated for a better life, or externally motivated by outside forces, the journey of recovery is an inside job, and the action has to be taken by the individual suffering from substance use disorder.
However, recovery from addiction is absolutely a journey that family members and loved ones can join in love and support. One of the best ways to give your loved one a gift of sobriety is to support them on a journey of finding health and wellness. Family members can educate themselves on addiction. It is vital to understand that addiction is not a moral failing and their loved one is not a bad person, but rather that they are suffering from a chronic illness and that they are a sick person needing to get well. It is also important to separate the person from the addiction as well as separate the individual from the behaviors that occur during active addiction.
Additionally, family members can begin to openly talk about these things, helping to break the stigma and the shame of addiction and make their loved one understand that they need help. Family members can also seek out their own support through professionals, community-based support groups, and other parents, spouses, and people who have dealt with a loved one in active addiction. They should keep talking about these things, making addiction and substance use disorder a topic that is not taboo, just as they would discuss friends and family that suffering from other health-related issues and disorders, such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Family members should also find support to hold boundaries and learn to continue to love and support their addicted family member without supporting the addictive behaviors. All of these are ways that family members can help guide their loved ones towards recovery and offer the gift of sobriety.
This holiday season, while we are purchasing presents and wrapping gifts and thinking of ways that we can bring others joy and love and support during the holiday season, let us not forget about doing what we can to give those loved ones suffering from addiction the greatest gift of all- health, wellness, freedom from addiction, and a supportive path towards recovery and sobriety.
If you or someone you know needs help for addiction or co-occurring disorder issues, please give us a call. Maryland Addiction Recovery Center offers the most comprehensive dual diagnosis addiction treatment in the Mid-Atlantic area. If we aren’t the best fit for you or your loved one, we will take the necessary time to work with you to find a treatment center or provider that better fits your needs. Please give us a call at (410) 773-0500 or email our team at [email protected]. For more information on all of our drug addiction, alcohol addiction and co-occurring disorder services and recovery resources, please visit our web site at www.marylandaddictionrecovery.com.