Long-Distance Support: How to Help A Recovering Addict from A Distance.
In the past, people often stayed in their hometowns their whole lives, but today, that is not always the case.
Some people move away to explore a new city; others move across the country for a job; others are happy jumping from place to place just…because. Because leaving your birthplace and settling elsewhere is now the norm, that means more long-distance relationships among friends and family members. While this may be fine day-to-day, when a loved one is in need, supporting them from afar can be a bit more challenging.
How to Support Someone in Recovery When You Live Far AwayWhen someone leaves an inpatient or PHP treatment center, the early days of recovery can be difficult. For them to stay on the right track in their recovery, they need support. While you want to be there for them in-person, this may not always be possible. Especially in the days of quarantine, face-to-face meetings are not always an option, but there are ways of supporting someone in recovery from a distance.
To help, our Pompano substance abuse treatment center is sharing some tips on how to help someone in recovery from afar.
Stay in TouchHelping an addict recover when you are long-distance could be as simple as staying in touch. Although you cannot meet-up in person, you should still try and communicate regularly. Schedule weekly phone calls or Facetime meetings. Text them often to check in or send them funny memes. You can also set aside time to play video games together if that is something you both enjoy. By still being a constant in their life, even when you are apart, they will likely feel more comfortable coming to you for help when they may be struggling with their recovery.
Be PositiveTrying to support a recovering drug addict living far away can be challenging if they are constantly complaining or venting to you. It can be hard to cheer someone up from a distance. Instead of letting them always dwell on the negatives, remind them of the positives of sobriety. Praise them for steps in the right direction, even if they are small. Send them a text message that will make them smile. Order them a small gift when they are feeling down. Your positivity could make a huge difference in their recovery and help improve their optimism as well.
Avoid Triggering TopicsOne of the most important tips on how to help a recovering addict from a distance is to do your best to avoid anything that could trigger addiction cravings for them. Talking about your Friday night plans out or that time in college you got wasted together is not a good idea. Although you may think these stories are harmless, they may create strong cravings that could eventually lead to relapse. Avoid the stumble down the drunken memory lane. Instead, focus on the good times when you were both sober or a future where neither one of you is under the influence.
Get into Routine with ThemA big part of a successful long-term recovery is maintaining a healthy routine. While their drug or alcohol treatment program may have had these routines in place, life can get in the way outside of treatment and this routine can quickly fall to the wayside. Help them keep their routine by following these same principles in your life. Share your successes and struggles and, of course, encourage one another. When someone else is exercising, eating healthy, trying a new hobby, and practicing good sleep habits with them, it can make keeping this routine a lot easier and hold them accountable for their recovery.
Use Resources for HelpThere are so many addiction resources out there -- take advantage of them. Do some research online. Read a book about addiction for loved ones of addicts. Listen to a podcast. Talk to other people about their experiences with their loved ones. The more research you do and the more you educate yourself on the addiction recovery process, the easier it will be for you to help someone with their struggles, even from a distance.
Plan a VisitAlthough supporting an addict in recovery from a distance is very doable, sometimes nothing can beat an in-person meeting. If safe, take a trip to them or invite them your way. Even just making more definite plans to meet up can give you both something to look forward to, and your recovering loved one something to work toward.
It can take some time to learn how to help a recovering addict from a distance, but your support, even from afar, can make a world of difference to your loved one.