Having an addict in the family can be a struggle. You spend your time worrying about the family member, wondering if you could have done anything to prevent it, and are left to imagine what the future could possibly look like. Sometimes you are just plain embarrassed; it can be a lonely place to be. All of those feelings and questions are normal. In fact, you spend so much time trying to understand how to support your family, and the recovering addict during this time it is easy to neglect yourself. But, you know you have to keep yourself strong. So, where do you turn for strength?
Do Not Struggle Alone
It is extremely easy to be silent during your struggle. You focus your energy on taking care of your family, deciding what steps to take while supporting the addict towards or through recovery. With everything going on around you, it may seem impossible to find the time, energy, or will to include anyone else. But, it is imperative that you do. Whether it is an official support group, your Bible Study group, or simply your most trusted friends, do not battle through this alone. This group can pray with you, laugh with you, and support you while you support your family. There is strength in numbers and you can find yours there as well.
Turn to the Lord
Seek solace in your moments with God. Now, more than ever, your relationship with Him needs to be solid. Paul, in one of his letters to Timothy, begs his young friend to bring Mark and join him as swiftly as possible. Almost everyone has deserted him in his ministry to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. However, Paul immediately assures Timothy he is not completely alone. “The Lord stood at my side and gave me strength,” (2 Timothy 4:17). Just as He was there to strengthen Paul, so will He be for you. The moments you spend in solitude with God will calm you and renew your spirit, keeping you strong as you work through everything that comes your way.
Arming yourself with knowledge will help you immensely as you support your family. This is not knowledge so you can offer suggestions to the addict; in fact, that is one of the worst things you can do for the recovering addict. They must battle their addiction in their own way, with their own methods or program. No this knowledge is to support you. Visit with a counselor, your support group, or simply spend time learning about the drug or drugs of choice for your family member. This will allow you to better understand what they are going through, things you should look for, and ways in which you may support them.
Take Care of Yourself
Finally, you must find the time to keep yourself healthy. You are no good to anyone in your family if you are sick or run down. Eating properly will allow your body to stay healthy even when you may feel mentally and emotionally drained. In addition, regular exercise will also strengthen your body, your mind, and your spirit. Take a walk outside and breathe in the fresh air. Or, visit your local gym and burn off frustration and rage through a kickboxing class! Employ a variety of exercise options but keep your body moving.
It is easy to get lost in how to support an addict through their recovery. You end up focusing so much of your energies towards this task and towards the rest of your family that you may not take the time to support yourself. But, if you are not strong, it will eventually cause more stress on you and your entire family. Ground yourself in the Word of God, rely on your own support system, arm yourself with knowledge and keep yourself physically healthy to stay strong through this time.