Addiction is difficult for any family to cope with and is often a neglected disease. According to a Columbia University study, 40 million Americans age 12 and over meet the criteria for addiction involving nicotine, alcohol or other drugs. So how do you cope when you live with one of these addicts? Here are a few healthy ways to help you deal with living with an addict.
Knowledge is Power
When you are living with an addict, you may have feelings of overall confusion and helplessness. What do you say to someone who is fighting addiction? What can you do to help them seek treatment? And once they receive treatment what can you do to make sure they don’t relapse again and have a successful recovery? Educating yourself about your partner or family member’s addiction can help you escape the blame game. Understanding the brain chemistry of an addict might help family members let go of any blame and resentment and focus on recovery and healing. Check out your local library or bookstore to start getting informed about your loved one’s addiction.
Prepare Healthy Meals and Enjoy Them as a Family
There is a reason why kitchens are often referred to as the heart of the home. You may be feeling disconnected as a unit when living with addiction. There is something special about preparing a meal as a family. Life can feel chaotic at times (especially while living with an addict) and something as simple as preparing a healthy meal and sitting down and enjoying it with each other is a great way to reconnect at the end of a stressful day.
Exercise on a Regular Basis
It is important to focus on taking care of the physical health of the family when dealing with addiction. Whether it is taking the dogs for a walk after dinner as a family or going for a run in the mornings by yourself before work, it is important to adhere to an exercise routine. According to a recent ADAA online poll, 14 percent of people use exercise to cope with stress. It is no mystery that studies have shown that exercise decreases stress and improves sleep, and stress and sleep are two important areas that those who live with addicts have to manage.
Be a Little Selfish
When you live with an addict it can be very easy to focus all of your energy on helping them. Don’t forget to take care of yourself too. Take some time for yourself to focus on something you find fulfilling to relieve your stress. Whether it’s gardening, crafting, or just getting a massage, do something for you to feel a little more relaxed.
Addiction can feel like an extra family member living in your home creating unwanted havoc on a regular basis. Living with an addict can be emotionally and physically draining for each member of the family. By implementing a few of these tips into your weekly routine, it may make your family a closer and healthier unit during the addiction recovery process.