Surviving a Family Disease

Helping Yourself While Helping a Loved one through Substance Use Disorder

Caring for a person recovering from substance use disorder presents many unique challenges and frustrations. If this person is a loved one, it may be even harder to filter through the negative interactions that substance use recovery presents. Recovery is just as hard on caregivers as it is on the patients themselves. However, engaging in healthy and mindful forms of self care is the best way for a caregiver to show up and care for a person in recovery properly.

Practice Being Mindful

Practicing mindfulness is a great way to maintain a clear mindset when guiding a person recovering from substance use disorder. By being aware of daily living patterns, your own thought processes, and your loved ones understanding of the situation, you can cultivate mental resilience that will give you a better grasp over how to create solutions and increased emotional strength through acceptance of the situation.

Enforce Zero Tolerance

Setting strict boundaries with your loved one may be volatile at first, but it is part of the responsibility of a caregiver. Reflect often on ways you may have enabled your loved one and take action to change those behaviors immediately. Communicate clearly and firmly that all detrimental actions will not be tolerated, and uphold that statement through actions.

Don’t Take It Personal

By practicing emotional detachment,  it becomes easier to identify what aspects of your loved one’s recovery you do and do not have control of, and to approach certain situations accordingly.

Relax Often

Taking the time to relax and evaluate your thought processes often is crucial to staying healthy and grounded. By keeping a journal, meditating, or even just taking a long bath, you decrease stress, boost your mood, and strengthen your mind. Staying involved in a hobby helps to provide an outlet to release stress.

Keep Your Body Healthy

Strong mental health and healthy physical habits are proven to be mutually exclusive. By maintaining good physical health, you show yourself compassion and strength as you continue to care for your loved one. Always eat healthy, participate in at least 30 minutes of dynamic exercise a day, and ensure you get enough sleep.

Spend Time with Friends

Social Health is critical when caring for a person recovering from addiction, as it can provide relaxation and strengthen your system of outside support. Making time to see friends or family outside of your caregiver duties can help you to relax and significantly boost your mood. It may even be beneficial to join a support group or to start therapy. Having the support of a group of people experiencing similar patterns and situations can help you to feel less alone . By establishing this network, you can gain insight and clarity from those who understand your situation. Studies even show that verbalizing concerns and emotional pain help to significantly reduce distress, and that a strong network of social support directly correlates with high levels of emotional resilience.

If you or a loved one are struggling, Livengrin can help. For more information, visit


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