Supporting a person in recovery is one thing, but cohabiting with that person can be another story. While those living with a recovering drug addict need to be conscious of that person’s needs to encourage sobriety, it is also important for them to understand how to maintain their own lives in a healthy way. This is particularly true for family members and other loved ones because addiction doesn’t just affect the addict. It affects the people closest to them, too.
In many ways, someone living with a recovering drug addict is also in recovery. Where as a nonaddict might have a glass of wine with dinner, it could also be enough motivation to trigger an addict’s compulsive need to use. Recovering addicts are fighting a war. In an ideal situation, housemates are helping them hold the front line of that war by removing any trace of drugs or alcohol from the living environment.
Housemates, particularly family members, may need their own support system when living with a recovering drug addict. Individual and group therapy can provide very positive affirmation for a nonaddict’s feelings about a person’s drug use, as well as the recovery process. Therapy can also be a powerful tool for the nonaddict’s education and understanding about how addiction truly works, giving that person invaluable insight into an addict’s struggle not to use and validate the bravery involved with staying sober.
Essentially, creating a healthy environment for everyone, including a drug addict, means taking good care of oneself, being as honest as possible and encouraging a recovering addict’s efforts to win the fight. It’s a team effort and having a supportive group to reinforce the positives has the best chance to change a life for the better.