When addicts and alcohol abusers enter alcohol rehabilitation centres for the first time, the effect on their friends and family can be enormous. When someone close to you begins this kind of treatment, it’s natural to be filled with a wide variety of conflicting and highly confusing emotions. Fear, enthusiasm, concern, optimism – all overloading your mind at the same time. And of course, you want to do absolutely anything and everything you can to help, but at the same time, you may find that you yourself have trouble coping with the reality of what’s going on.
The good news is that right now, many of the treatment centres and rehab facilities the UK public has access to, are of a very good standard. As far as the experts are concerned, there is unlikely to be a case too severe or advanced to be turned around radically, nor does the best rehab available have to unaffordable. Still, much of what happens in terms of the patient’s success can be influenced by the support and assistance provided by their loved ones.
So in order to provide the best support network possible, it’s important that you and anyone else involved take a step back and look at your own position. If you are having trouble remaining level-headed, focused and objective, the following tips could help:
1 – Self-Focus
First of all, it’s important to accept that the person entering the rehab facility is far from the only person affected by what’s going on. It’s not a case of claiming ‘victim’ status or working out who is suffering most, but instead acknowledging the fact that it is a very difficult time for a lot of people. You will be riddled with confusing and conflicting emotions, while at the same time will no doubt have a thousand and one questions to ask. As such, you need to make sure you give yourself sufficient time, attention and focus, in order to process what’s happening. Or in other words, cut yourself some slack.
2 – Don’t Focus on Blame
This is precisely the kind of instance in which playing the blame game will not help anyone. If anything, it will just make things worse. Regardless of the perceived reason (or lack thereof) why the person in question developed an alcohol problem, what matters now is that they are helped to move away from it. Checking into rehab means acknowledging past mistakes, facing up to the reality of things and looking forward. By contrast, playing the blame game is all about looking back on the past and needlessly pointing fingers. No matter who you blame, be it yourself, the patient or anyone else across the board, getting bogged down in blame will always be counterproductive.
3 – Seek Support
One of the most important things anyone facing this kind of reality can do is to remind themselves that they are most certainly not alone. Quite to the contrary in fact, as there are thousands of others going through exactly the same thing at any one time. Support groups can be absolutely fantastic, but there are also plenty of online communities dedicated to this precise subject. Not only does it help to be reminded that you are not alone, but it’s also the perfect opportunity to converse with others. Share experiences, offer advice and generally benefit from the support of those who know exactly what you are going through.
4 – Live Your Life
It may come across as easier said than done, but you nonetheless need to make all necessary efforts to continue living as much of your life as possible as normal. Your instincts will probably tell you that your life is over for now and that you have to be 100% committed to your loved one in rehab. However, if you completely give up on your life, your friends and everything that makes you happy, you will quickly grow to resent the entire process and perhaps even the individual in question. As already mentioned time and attention for you is very important and should be provided in no small measures.
5 – Take Your Time
Last up, it is absolutely impossible to know just how long any stage in the recovery process will take, until it actually happens. As such, it’s never a good idea to map out unrealistic goals, fall foul of improbable expectations or generally measure a person’s progress against set ‘norms’ and the like. Their journey will be 100% unique from start to finish, meaning patience is of the utmost importance. And if there’s any kind of stumble along the way, patience will help ensure that the next time around, things pan out more successfully.