When someone you loved is addicted to drugs or alcohol, it can be a harrowing experience. Additionally, many people who make a successful recovery fall victim to relapses, which is just as hard on their family members as it is on the person struggling with substance abuse. While a skilled and compassionate attorney can handle legal issues, it’s up to family to deal with their loved one in a supportive manner. If you’re struggling, Self offers the following advice on what to do after your loved one has experienced a relapse.
It’s natural for a person to be angry in this situation. After all, you were likely encouraged by your family member’s strides towards sobriety. While the first impulse is to express anger, it often does more harm than good. Chances are, your loved one already feels plenty of guilt, and adding to this guilt may only worsen the issue. If you must express your frustrations, do so with a trusted confidant or therapist.
What you can do is express your unconditional love towards the person. That doesn’t mean you must condone his behaviors or support them. It’s OK to set firm boundaries, which ultimately benefit you and the person struggling with addiction. However, you should still express love and kindness towards the person in the best way you can. This support may act as motivation for the person to recommit to sobriety.
At the end of the day, your loved one must decide on his own to stop using drugs or alcohol. You can’t fight this battle for him, and you must take care of your own well-being. You may need to take a step back from the situation, especially if it’s affecting you negatively.