Recovery from Opioid Use Disorder (OUD) is a difficult dance. The steps are strenuous, complicated and require practice, determination and often, a supportive partner. Many people with a loved one suffering from OUD are often looking for effective ways to be that partner and help their loved one master the steps.
So, what can you do?
- Establish Trust
It’s the opening step. Recovery is stressful for everyone, so a stress-free, trusting environment is key.
- Communicate in an honest, non-threatening manner. Avoid language that stigmatizes your loved-one’s condition. See this link for examples. Remember that communication includes listening.
- Avoid nagging, criticizing, lecturing, name-calling and hyperbole
- Don’t engage in addictive behaviors yourself
It takes two to dance, so trust goes both ways.
- Set Boundaries
- Keep from stepping on each other’s toes and establish clear expectations so that both partners know what behaviors are acceptable.
- Don’t put up with bad behavior from your loved one.
- Help Yourself
It’s difficult to have all the answers yourself. Accept that fact and look for support from peer groups and professionals.
- Embrace the Treatment Process
If you are involved in your loved one’s treatment, be honest about your feelings and expectations, be non-judgmental and listen with an open mind. If your loved one is in treatment alone, respect their privacy. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t push and do not inform friends, family, or others about it.
Overall, understand that this dance is a marathon, change does not happen in one night of dancing.
If you are looking to find treatment for your loved one or yourself, there’s no shortage of support available.