How to De-stress When Caring for a Loved One in Recovery

Do you feel stressed while taking care of a loved one who is going through recovery from substance addiction? Are you taking good care of yourself? Caring for a loved one can be physically and emotionally straining, even for the most resilient people. If you are the main support for a loved one in recovery, it is even more important to maintain your own strength and well-being so your irreplaceable support is always there when your loved one needs it.

What Are Some Common Stress Factors? 

When you are actively supporting a loved one out of the influence of substance addiction, you will typically experience a shift in roles and emotions. It is important to recognize how these added responsibilities and expectations are affecting your emotional well-being. When you feel frustrated, exhausted, alone, or angry, it is probably time to sit back and look at what signals your own body is sending out.

Those who experience caregiver stress can become vulnerable to changes in their own physical and mental health. This is because the role takes on a few risk factors, especially when you are caring for a loved one through addiction recovery. Common stress factors may include social isolation, financial difficulties, a higher number of hours spent on monitoring your loved one’s behaviors or whereabouts, friction or conflicts with your loved one’s impulses and cravings, lack of coping skills, and more. 

Nobody is naturally gifted in providing home care for someone who is going through addiction recovery. Addiction tends to have lasting effects on a person’s body and mind, so one needs to have adequate education to cope with different challenges at various phases of recovery. This is a high requirement for a family member who might not have the necessary medical knowledge. Moreover, substance addiction often brings disruption to family relationships. This means a family member might be rebuilding healthy boundaries while caring for a recently sober person, which can be doubly challenging.

How Can I Practice Self-Care?

Some family members can become so focused on their loved one’s needs in early sobriety that they do not realize their own emotional and general well-being are deteriorating. Some common signs of caregiver stress in the situation of addiction recovery include feeling overwhelmed by anxiety and worry, physical exhaustion, difficulty in sleeping patterns, irritation or frustration, losing interest in old hobbies, depression, and other mood problems.

It is important to realize from the beginning of your care that your loved one needs a multi-layered support system – they need more than just your support alone. This can ensure that the burden does not fall solely on your shoulders. You can work with a recovery coach to come up with a support and intervention plan. You can also encourage your loved one to rely more on his or her peer group, such as a 12-Step program. The earlier you put these systems in place, the better both you and your loved one can do in the long marathon of recovery. 

You can also join a support group for family members who are in the same role. This can be a place to learn some problem-solving strategies and educate yourself on what different phases of recovery look like – you need sources of motivation to continue the work, too. Meanwhile, make an effort to stay well-connected with supportive family and friends who can get involved. Build your own support system so that when you feel burnout, you have somebody to turn to.

It is also wise to set some personal well-being goals for yourself. For example, make sure you get enough sleep and find time to exercise. Every week, set time aside to do something you like, as a way to recharge or reset. Maybe practice mindfulness exercises or learn yoga and meditation. These are all good strategies to de-stress. Self-care is important because addiction takes a toll on everyone in the family, especially those who care the most. Some of the stress can be hard to detect, but the effects are often felt in frustration and depressive moods. 

When Should You Consider Working With a Recovery Interventionist?

It is common for family members, especially parents, of addicted persons to experience disruption and chaos in their family life. Getting your family life in order is a big goal after your loved one finishes detox treatment. You need to set new priorities regarding what needs to be taken care of. This might include taking your loved one to their weekly support group meetings or continued therapy sessions, or you might need to watch your child closely so they do not access substances from friends. Keeping up with these tasks is also very demanding. It is important to know that you can work with some recovery professionals, such as a recovery coach, an interventionist, or a case manager, to take care of these tasks.

When you feel overwhelmed, consider reaching out to a recovery interventionist who can help you assess the situation and provide extra support on areas you need. Whether it is sober escorting your loved one to appointments and group meetings or coaching you on what to expect and watch out for, a recovery interventionist has all the supportive resources ready for your use. Some interventionists also provide detailed case management as a way to keep you organized and on track.

Do you feel overwhelmed by the task of supporting a loved one through addiction recovery? Are you at a point of burnout? Do you wonder where to get extra help? At South Florida Intervention, we have professionally-trained interventionists to work with you. We can also provide you with more education on the recovery process, as well as self-care. Our recovery coaches can provide guidance in these areas. If you are a parent caring for a recovering young person at home, we know what strategies can help you stay emotionally healthy and effective in supporting your child. We have worked with many recovering young people and their families over the years. In addition to recovery coaching and parent coaching, we also offer sober escort and detailed case management. Furthermore, we are well-connected with trusted health professionals who have plenty of experience. Recovery is a long journey, and you are not alone. Call us at (202) 390-2273.