In September, people across the nation come together to recognize National Recovery Month. This month is dedicated to celebrating the resilience and recovery of individuals who have battled and triumphed over substance use disorders. Furthermore, it’s a reminder that recovery is an ongoing journey that requires support, understanding, and awareness from all of us.
This year, we’ve placed a focus on Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD), emphasizing its prevalence and impact on many lives.
Alcohol Use Disorder Is Still a Major Concern
Every year, the devastating impact of alcohol takes a toll on countless individuals and their loved ones. There are some key statistics to know:
AUD On the Rise
The concerns surrounding alcohol consumption further escalated during the COVID-19 pandemic. A staggering 60% of Americans reported an increase in their alcohol intake during lockdowns. This surge can be attributed to factors such as heightened stress, unemployment, isolation, and the blurring of personal and professional boundaries. It underscores the crucial need for awareness, intervention, and support in these trying times.
Impacts Young and Old
Furthermore, it’s alarming to note that 1-in-10 Americans over the age of 12 are diagnosed with Alcohol Use Disorder. This signifies that a significant fraction of the population struggles with the challenges and consequences of alcohol on a daily basis. It’s a condition that doesn’t discriminate based on age, gender, or socioeconomic status. Everyone, directly or indirectly, is susceptible to its far-reaching effects.
Loved Ones Pass Away
Shockingly, an average of 140,557 Americans die from the effects of alcohol annually. These losses are not mere statistics but represent mothers, fathers, children, friends, and colleagues. Each death impacts communities, leaving voids that can never be filled.
How To Support Loved Ones Who Struggle With Alcohol Use
Supporting a loved one with AUD can be an emotional rollercoaster. It’s vital to approach the situation with empathy, patience, and informed actions to assist them on their recovery journey. Some of the top ways you can support loved ones with alcohol use issues include:
Educate Yourself About Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD)
Understanding AUD is the first step towards helping someone affected by it. This disorder encompasses more than just the physical act of drinking; it also includes addiction’s mental and emotional facets. By educating oneself, you can approach your loved one without misconceptions or prejudices. Knowing AUD’s signs, symptoms, and effects can lead to more empathetic conversations and informed decisions about seeking help.
Open Non-Judgmental Communication Channels
Effective communication is crucial when addressing a sensitive topic like AUD. It’s essential to ensure that the individual feels heard and understood. Avoid confrontations or blame; create a safe space for open dialogue. Letting them know you’re there to listen without judgment can make a world of difference.
On the other hand, timing is pivotal. Choose moments when both of you are calm and open to dialogue. Avoid discussing the topic when emotions are high or when under the influence. Prepare for the conversation, keeping empathy at the forefront.
Know When To Be There and When To Give Some Space
While support is essential, understanding boundaries is equally vital. There will be moments when your loved one needs space to reflect and process their feelings. Respect their need for privacy, but ensure they know you’re always available when they’re ready to talk or seek assistance. At the same time, recognize the signs when they might be isolating too much.
Continuous withdrawal might be a sign they are deeply struggling. While giving space, ensure there are open channels of communication, and periodically check in without being intrusive.
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Engage In Support Groups
Support groups offer a platform for individuals and families affected by AUD to share experiences and coping strategies. Participating can provide invaluable insights and foster a sense of community. Encourage your loved one to attend these sessions, and consider joining family support groups to navigate your own feelings and challenges. These sessions can provide solace in knowing you’re not alone. They can introduce you to resources and tools you weren’t aware of.
Take Care of Yourself To Take Care of Your Loved One
Becoming consumed with your loved one’s struggles is easy, but self-care is vital. Ensure you’re mentally and emotionally fit, as your well-being plays a pivotal role in offering effective support. Seeking therapy or counseling for yourself can provide coping mechanisms and a clearer perspective on the situation.
Remember, take care of yourself first to assist others better. Joining groups for caregivers can also be beneficial. They provide a platform to vent, share, and learn from peers who understand your unique challenges.
Ways To Encourage Loved Ones To Seek Professional Care for Alcohol Use Disorder
Encouraging someone to seek professional care is a delicate task that requires tact and understanding. It is important to meet them where they are at, while letting them know that you want what is best for them. Some of the ways you can encourage a loved one to seek care include:
Share Information & Success Stories
Stories of recovery can serve as beacons of hope. Sharing testimonials and success tales can illustrate the positive outcomes of seeking professional care. These stories can inspire and provide tangible evidence of life beyond AUD.
Furthermore, they counteract the often-stigmatizing narratives surrounding addiction. Focusing on triumphs makes it possible to shift perspectives and inspire action. Familiarizing your loved one with real-life cases can personalize the journey, making it seem more attainable and real. Reiterate the strength of those who’ve successfully battled AUD, emphasizing their relatability.
Express Concern, Not Criticism
The approach matters. Coming from a place of concern rather than criticism can foster trust. Highlight your worries about their well-being, making sure they understand that the motivation behind your encouragement is pure love. The language used can have profound effects on reception.
Phrases like “I’m worried” rather than “You should” can lead to more productive conversations. By emphasizing love and care, you prioritize their emotions and well-being. It’s essential to be patient and consistent, showing them that your concerns are out of genuine care and not mere judgment.
Explore Treatment Options Together
Professional care isn’t one-size-fits-all. Research various treatments, from counseling to rehab, and discuss these options openly. By exploring together, you’re showing your commitment and making the process less daunting for your loved one.
Familiarizing oneself with different treatment modalities can empower choices. Knowing the options can reduce fear of the unknown, whether it’s outpatient treatment, in-patient rehabilitation, or group therapy. Mutual exploration fosters partnership, emphasizing that they’re not alone in this journey. Ensure that the final decision respects their comfort and choice.
Highlight the Confidentiality of Treatment
The fear of stigma or judgment can deter many from seeking help. Emphasize the confidentiality and professionalism of therapy and rehabilitation centers. Assuring them of their privacy can ease concerns and encourage them to take the first step. It’s crucial to understand that the apprehension about public perception is real.
Confidentiality ensures that their journey remains private, fostering a secure environment. Reiterate that professionals are bound by ethical codes, ensuring discretion. Highlighting past successful confidential treatments can also be reassuring.
Promote the Idea of a Support System
Recovery is more manageable with a robust support system. Remind your loved one that seeking professional help isn’t a sign of weakness but rather a step towards surrounding themselves with people who can guide and assist.
Surrounding oneself with positive influences can hasten recovery. Beyond professionals, support groups, friends, and family play vital roles. Their journey is not solitary; a collective effort can achieve sustainable recovery. Reinforce the importance of community and collective strength in overcoming challenges, showing them the benefits of a united front.
Comprehensive Treatment for Substance Use Disorder
At Riverside Recovery of Tampa, we understand the complexities of AUD as well as other substance use disorders and offer a holistic approach to treatment. Our compassionate team combines innovation with tried-and-true methods, ensuring that each individual receives comprehensive care tailored to their needs.
September’s National Recovery Month reminds us of the resilience of the human spirit and the difference informed support can make. Riverside Recovery stands ready to be a partner in recovery, emphasizing that every journey begins with a single step. We have some of the most experienced and compassionate providers in the field, and we would be honored to help you and your family. Contact us today to speak to a member of our team.