I support my loved one through his battle with addiction. The process of support has not been an easy road and I nagged, yelled, begged, and controlled. My behaviors really perpetuated a lot of the drinking. I did not cause his drinking, but I did contribute to it with my behaviors. I turned to the behaviors that I thought were supported because when I nagged and yelled, I could get sobriety for 3 days. I continued these behaviors for years. These behaviors were just winning a battle though.
We now are in this fight together to win the war. In saying that I learned different skills and strategies to help support my loved one, and there are skills and strategies to help get your loved one sober. Ultimately yes, sobriety is on them, but there are tools and resources where you can move your loved one from the denial stage by using motivational interviewing and by applying principles based on Harm Reduction and CRAFT ( The Community Reinforcement Approach and Family Training) which trains concerned significant other on how to help guide their loved ones into recovery.
There is a support group around these principles called SMART recovery family and friends and one for our loved ones called SMART recovery. It is all science and behavioral-based and has been shown to be extremely effective in helping a loved one get into treatment. With the SMART recovery-based programs the relapse is significantly lowered, and if relapse does happen loved ones are more likely to seek help and in turn, the relapse turns into a lapse, and our loved ones spend less time using and get back on to the path of recovery.
This concept is not something that is easy, and it takes a lot of time and dedication to helping a loved one with an addiction. I love my spouse to the moon and back and I have seen him transform with this. I had to first change my behaviors, put in a lot of boundaries first. I had to focus on myself at the start and really take care of myself. Once I had some balance in my life and support system established, I was able to apply the CRAFT principles I learned, which honestly transformed both of our lives. Recovery is possible.
This also helped with my sister as well who is in recovery. I would also caution against this if you are experiencing abuse, you need to first take care of yourself and make yourself a priority and your own personal safety is paramount. That is one of the leading principles behind SMART and CRAFT to first protect yourself. I will also say that SMART is also good for if you are experiencing abuse and don’t know how to get out or are still in that questioning stage of if I should leave or not leave.
SMART Recovery Family and Friends empowers families and gives them the tools and resources on how to protect themselves if need be. It helps build families’ confidence up and really helps them to take care of their needs, and then if a family member chose or is willing it also gives the family tools on how to help support their loved one and get them to make the changes needed to get into recovery. It is paramount to really focus on yourself and focus on your needs first you are important you are valuable. Loving someone with an addiction is not easy, but with the right support tools and resources in place, it does become easier.
I also used this model with my sister as well who is now in recovery from meth and heroin use. I was there I was broken too before I discovered CRAFT, SMART recovery, harm reduction, and above all else self-care. I was ready to leave my spouse, I got close. I am glad I gave it one more chance though because we now have a great love for each other and he is in an amazing recovery program using SMART recovery tools.
By Brittany Jackson