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Tips to Live Healthily With a Recovering Addict
Are you about to move in with a recovering addict? Whether you are in love with the person or not, here are 10 tips for living healthily with them.
Do you have a recovering addict living in your home at the moment?
Whether it’s your spouse, your parent, your sibling, your child, or a close friend, it can be a real challenge to live healthily with them in your home.
It’s definitely not impossible to do it, though. As long as you and the addict work together and stay on the same page at all times, you can maintain a healthy relationship and even provide the encouragement they need to stay sober.
Take a look at 10 must-know tips that will help you live healthily with a recovering addict below.
1. Learn as Much as Possible About Addiction Before Living With an Addict
If you’re preparing to welcome a recovering addict into your home, take the time to learn as much as you can about addiction.
Specifically, learn about the type of addiction that your family member or friend is dealing with at the moment. Whether it be alcohol addiction, heroin addiction, or some other kind of addiction, you should familiarize yourself with what they’re going through.
There isn’t really a way for you to fully grasp the hold that addiction can have on a person unless you’ve dealt with addiction on your own. But by educating yourself about it, you’ll have some idea of what living with an addict will be like.
2. Set Ground Rules at the Beginning
When a recovering addict first moves into your home, sit down with them and set up rules for your house. The last thing you want to do is walk blindly into the new living arrangement without having some rules in place.
First and foremost, you should let the person know that you will not tolerate them using drugs or alcohol in your home under any circumstances. This will show them that you’re not going to permit them to use drugs or alcohol again while they’re living with you.
Additionally, let them know about any other rules that you want to set up. You might want to consider limiting the people they bring into your home or call on them to make financial contributions towards food, utilities, and more.
The goal here should be to lay down some ground rules so that there’s no confusion over what is and isn’t allowed in your home.
3. Remove Temptations from Your Home
Do you have a liquor cabinet in your home filled with wine, beer, and other booze?
This is, obviously, not something that you’re going to want around if you have a recovering addict living with you. Think about getting rid of the cabinet altogether or installing a lock on it and putting it in a place that’s out of sight.
It’s usually a good idea to lock up any loose change or other spare money you might have sitting around inside your home, too. While you don’t want to make an addict feel like a prisoner, you also don’t want them to have easy access to anything that could tempt them to go back to their old ways.
3. Maintain Open Lines of Communication
If you’re going to have a recovering addict living in your home, you need to spend a lot of time speaking with them.
This doesn’t mean you need to nag them every time they walk into a room. But it does mean you should check up on how their recovery is going. It also means you should invite them to come to you if they ever feel as though they’re having trouble on the road to recovery.
Make it known that you’re always open to communicating with an addict, even if they need to tell you something that might not make you happy. It’ll go a long way towards improving your communication with them.
5. Offer Your Support as Often as You Can
Along with opening up the lines of communication with a recovering addict, you should also pledge to be as supportive as possible.
Tell the addict that you support them and that you’ll do whatever it takes to ensure they stay sober. Also, push them to continue to get the help they need to maintain their sobriety both now and in the future.
Your support alone will mean a lot to a person who is trying to overcome addiction. It’ll likely increase their chances of staying clean moving forward.
6. Try to Understand the Struggles of the Addict
A recovering addict is going to have all kinds of struggles that you might not be able to imagine.
For example, if someone has spent several years dealing with alcohol or heroin addiction, they may not have a lot of healthy relationships with other friends and family members. They may also have trouble securing a job or taking out a loan to buy a car.
These are a few of the struggles that people face when they’re battling addiction. Those struggles can often send people right back to using the substances they were before. For many, those substances offer them the only peace they know and can find.
You don’t necessarily have to tolerate the behavior of an addict. But you should work to understand what they’re going through rather than getting upset with them when they mess up.
7. Help Build Healthier Habits
One of the biggest struggles a recovering addict faces when trying to overcome addiction is getting rid of bad habits. It can feel almost impossible to break those bad habits for good.
One way to do it is by building healthier habits that can replace the bad ones. Try suggesting a few healthy habits that an addict can pursue to replace the bad habits they’re trying to escape from. Some examples of healthy habits are:
- Establishing a workout routine
- Taking part in a sports league
- Playing board games or video games
- Learning how to cook
- Picking up a new hobby
Help the addict figure out what they’re passionate about. Then, encourage them to pursue their passions.
They’re not going to forget about their bad habits overnight. But over time, healthy habits can replace bad ones and turn them into a thing of the past.
8. Prepare for Potential Setbacks when Live With a Recovering Addict
Relapse is, unfortunately, something that could rear its ugly head at any time. One minute, a recovering addict could be doing well with their recovery, and the next, they’re abusing substances again.
Studies have shown that between 40-60 percent of the people who are treated for substance abuse end up relapsing at some point. So it doesn’t hurt to prepare yourself for the possibility of relapse.
If a person relapses while living in your home, tell them they need to go and get treatment if they want to continue staying with you. Without getting too angry or upset at them, push them in the direction of a treatment center and force them to think long and hard about what they want to do next.
9. Avoid Enabling an Addict at All Costs
When you love someone and live with a recovering addict, it’s easy to fall into a dangerous pattern of enabling them. You might find yourself making excuses for a functioning addict and denying that they have a problem.
If you’re living with a recovering addict who you believe is using drugs or alcohol again, put your foot down immediately. Otherwise, you could end up enabling their behavior and making their drug or alcohol problem even worse than it already is.
10. Take Time Out for Yourself
Living with a recovering addict is going to be very taxing on both your body and your mind. In the beginning, you’re going to be under a lot of stress. You’ll worry all the time about whether or not you’re doing the right things.
This is natural. But you shouldn’t allow it to take too much of a toll on you.
Find things that you like to do outside of your house and do them. From hanging out with friends to going to the movies, you should be able to continue living your life, regardless of the situation at home.
By taking time out for yourself, you’ll be able to process and manage everything going on at home better. You’ll also be more prepared to deal with any setbacks that might take place with the addict in your life.
Living a Healthy Life with a Recovering Addict Isn’t Impossible
Live With a Recovering Addict – An addict is always going to be an addict. Even if a person has been sober for 25 years, there’s still going to be a chance they could relapse and start using again at any time.
That doesn’t mean you can’t have a recovering addict in your life. If you follow these tips and work hard at your relationship with them, you can live a healthy life with a loved one who is battling addiction. It’s all a matter of how you approach things and how much work you’re both willing to put in.
Read our blog to get more advice about living with someone who has an addiction.