How can family and friends support the recovery process?
The family can play an extremely important role in the behavioral addiction recovery process. What does it look like, again depends on the family and the sort of the evolution of what has happened to the family during the course of the addiction, the recovery, the sobriety, and the falling off the sobriety, and things like that. Generalities about what the family can do and what loved ones can do are, generally speaking, no shaming, no blaming; it’s not particularly helpful to continually ask them, “How are you doing?” Even though it’s coming from the right part of your heart, it’s generally not a good thing for the addict to constantly have to explain or defend themselves as to what they’re doing or they’re not doing. The family can support them going off to treatment, whether that’s a nightly support group or a month in a residential, rather than resisting it and fighting them. The family cannot protect the individual totally from the stresses that go on in the family as normal, but try not to bombard someone who has just come out of a treatment program with all the problems of the day and put them exclusively responsible for solving them. Again, I don’t want the family to be avoidant and put that individual in a position where they have no stresses, but to realize that there needs to be a ramping up of how to cope with stress. The family should realize that they can bring the difficulties and problems that need to be solved to the individual over time, rather than in one lump sum.