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How to Maintain a Relationship While in Recovery?

How to Maintain a Relationship While in Recovery?

Recovery is about creating a new life for yourself. It’s important to know that everyone’s journey of recovery is different. Such a path can impact a teen’s means to maintain relationships. For this reason, we recommend keeping relationships with people who support recovery. However, many teens may find it hard to find friends who understand or want to understand their recovery journey. Fortunately, there are steps that teens can take to ensure they find uplifting relationships and maintain those relationships.

Repairing  Relationships in Recovery

Healthy relationships are vital to a teen’s well-being and success. Similar to treatment, post-treatment care calls for prioritization. We recommend that teens develop and maintain a strong network of people who care and support their recovery. Failure to do so risks teens feeling isolated and alone, and these emotions could leave them vulnerable to relapse.

Addiction often causes severe damage to relationships with family and friends. There are ways to restore these relationships. To restore the relationships with your family or friends, consider these suggestions:

  • Make Time for Them: Spend quality time with your family or friends. It can be difficult when you have so much homework, but spending time with them can help your recovery. Engage in activities that you both find enjoyable, like going on a hike, cooking, or playing a game. Doing so will create positive memories.
  • Be Open About Your Struggles: Don’t hide what you are going through from your family members because they want to help and support you through this challenging journey. Maintaining an open line of communication allows them to avoid insensitive, detrimental comments or actions to your recovery.

Patience Is a Virtue

Sometimes, recovery can be difficult when friends and family don’t understand the realities of living with a SUD. People don’t know what to say or react when their loved one is managing addiction or mental health disorders. They may hold certain reservations due to the stigma around addiction and mental health issues. They may ask questions to help them understand what you are experiencing.

Listen and encourage them to do some research on their own. Don’t hesitate to provide a list of resourceful books or websites that help you understand SUD and mental illnesses. Try to mind that they might need time to process this information and adjust their perspective on substance use and mental health disorders.

Respond and Reciprocate

Respond positively to people who reach out to you during their times of difficulty. We must take care of ourselves and others in our lives. We should be there for each other and show compassion, even if we don’t always understand what someone needs at a particular time or how best to do so. Whether it’s a friend, family member, or colleague reaching out for support, the best thing that anyone can do is be there for them and offer help where possible.

Sobriety provides us with the gift to show up for others in need.

Be Aware of the Warning Signs

Some relationships and friendships are harmful to recovery. If you notice red flags such as increased jealousy, possessiveness, or unwillingness to share time, this indicates that this might not be a healthy relationship. They may also change their personality to be friendly only when they need something from you; this is a sign that they are trying to take advantage of you. These behaviors can be challenging to detect. Therefore, your friends and family must support you.

Surround Yourself With Healthy People

Before maintaining a relationship, you need to restore healthy, worthwhile relationships. Communities are full of support groups for teenagers who struggle with SUD. Look to your local recovery groups or online recovery groups for teens. These groups offer a safe place for teens to discuss problems in their lives without judgment or stigma. Often, these people will understand your struggles and triumphs since they are on the same journey. Moreso, engage in activities centered around recovery like volunteering, working at a program for teens in recovery, or participating in activities or events popular among teens recovering from SUD.

Take a break from social media for a few weeks and get back into being active in the real world. It will give you more opportunities to meet people and build relationships with people who choose sobriety. Furthermore, find someone with something in common with you besides substance use. Whether you are an artist, athlete, musician, or hobbyist, there are people that you can connect and build relationships with. You can look to your community for opportunities to participate in activities and meet other people.

Substance use and mental health disorders are difficult to manage alone. Developing healthy relationships are essential for recovery, and strong relationships will support your teen during the challenging times in recovery. At Clearfork Academy, we provide a safe and comfortable environment for your teen to develop the skills to cultivate healthy relationships. Our programs offer individual, peer, and family support groups to ensure your teen has the opportunity to develop strong relationships and understand that they are never alone in their journey of recovery. While we specialize in providing evidence-based therapies for teens addicted to drugs or alcohol, we provide various holistic therapies to help teens develop life skills necessary for sustaining recovery. If your child struggles to maintain healthy relationships and manage their recovery, then the time to reach out for help is now. To find out more about our treatment programs, call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604.

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Tips for Supporting a Friend With a Mental Illness

Tips for Supporting a Friend with a Mental Illness

The adolescent and teenage years are often the most vulnerable time for mental illnesses to develop. However, teens tend to feel more comfortable turning to their friends for help with their mental illness rather than talking with their parents or professionals.

If you and your friends look to each other for help, it is important to know how to support one another when it comes to mental health.

Understanding Mental Illness

It is not always obvious when someone is dealing with a mental illness. Mental illnesses are often referred to as “invisible illnesses” because a person’s symptoms are not always visible to those around them. While some people are comfortable with sharing their diagnoses, others feel uncomfortable.

While it can be frustrating to feel like your friend is withholding information from you, don’t take it personally if your friend does not open up to you right away. It is important to remember that not everyone has the same experience with mental illnesses.

What Can You Do to Support a Friend With a Mental Illness?

Friends are essential in your developmental process because they lend a sense of connection and add to your self-worth. As a teen, you may find that you and your friends turn to each other for help more than you turn to your parents. Therefore, learning about disorders and how they affect individuals provides the best opportunity to support them. Here are six tips to support your friends when they come to you for help:

  1. Listen to Them: People with a mental illness often feel like others don’t listen to their experiences and what they are going through. If your friends feel comfortable talking to you about their disorder, be respectful and listen without judgment. You don’t have to wholly understand their experience or know all of the answers to their questions. Sometimes, they are not looking for an answer. Sometimes showing them that you are willing to offer a listening ear can help them feel more comfortable with expressing how they feel.
  2. Learn the Warning Signs: Getting help as early as possible is important when treating a mental illness. Learning to spot the warning signs of mental illnesses can help your friend find proper treatment. Spotting the warning signs requires learning about specific disorders and the symptoms that encompass them. If you notice your friend behaving in unusual ways to how they usually carry themselves, this is also a clear indication that they might need help.
  3. Respect Their Boundaries: Allow your friends to share as much or as little as they would like about how they feel. Don’t push them to tell you more than what they feel comfortable with; doing so might cause them to pull away from you. They may have specific boundaries to help them deal with their symptoms and how they talk about them. They may also want to avoid specific topics that are too triggering for them, and you must respect this, too. It is important to talk with your friends about boundaries and remember to uphold these boundaries.
  4. Don’t Always Bring Up Their Illness: Some mental illnesses require constant attention including, medication, being aware of moods, dietary changes, and navigating life with coping mechanisms that keep their symptoms at ease. However, your friend is not their illness, and their mental illness does not need to be the topic of every discussion. Sometimes spending time with the people they love offers a break from having to acknowledge their illness. You don’t have to mention or discuss their illness every time you hang out with or talk to them.
  5. Don’t Tell Your Friend How They Should Feel: Each individual’s experience with a mental illness is their own experience. Even if you know a lot about other illnesses, it is important to remember that you are not a medical or mental health expert, so understand that there are many things you don’t know about their illness. Avoid acting like a therapist or a psychiatrist when addressing your friend’s feelings. When they share their feelings with you, it is important to remain a friend and listen.
  6. Keep Your Questions Open Ended: Asking open-ended questions allows your friend the chance to share what they would like. Instead of saying to them, “You seem sad or lethargic today,” you can ask, “How are you feeling today?” Asking how they feel rather than how you think they feel allows them to share what they would like and not feel pushed to answer something outside their comfort zone.

It can be scary watching your friends manage their mental illnesses, especially during the adolescent stage. Clearfork Academy specializes in teen addiction and mental health treatment and offers specialized programs that help teens manage mental illnesses and substance use disorders. In addition to our clinical approaches, we also utilize holistic approaches such as art and adventure therapy. If your child is currently experiencing a substance use disorder that is interfering with their mental health, we will safely guide them through the detox and withdrawal phase of treatment. From there, we will get to the root of their substance use and identify any underlying conditions such as mental illnesses that may be influencing their substance use. Our goal is to help your teen reach sobriety and maintain long-term sobriety by teaching them healthy coping strategies and life skills. If your teen needs treatment, don’t wait. Call Clearfork Academy today at (888) 966-8604