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Literacy is a luxury that many of us take for granted. That is why SADAG created SPEAKING BOOKS and revolutionized the way healthcare information is delivered to low literacy communities.

The customizable 16-page book, read by local celebrity audio recordings, ensures that vital health and social messages can be seen, heard, read and understood by everyone across the world.

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Published April 2, 2013 | By Phoenix

The families and support systems of addicts in recovery all ask themselves this question “How can I be supportive of my child, my wife, my husband, my friend, my mother, my father, my colleague?” When the addict enters treatment, there is a sigh of relieve by the families, but then the concerns become more around when the addict leaves treatment what then. Addiction is called a family disease due to every one becoming affected by the behaviour of the addict and these changing roles. The family adopted specific behaviours and roles to adjust and “cope” with the dysfunctional part created by the addict to create some equilibrium. Now, these coping behaviours and roles need to change during treatment and after treatment to create a healthy supportive environment for the recovering addict and the family. The whole environment needs to change and not only the addict.

The family can support the recovering addict in the following ways:

1. Become actively part of the recovery process by attending the family support groups and open NA/AA meetings, join a family self help support group such as Tough Love or Alanon or Alateen. This will allow you to gain from the experiences of others in the same situation as you and break the isolation and loneliness that parents and loved ones feel. You are not alone in this;
2. Identify what role did you play in the active addiction of your loved one and what impact their behaviour and choices had on you. Work through your own negative feelings and thoughts about the addict and confront them in a controlled therapeutic setting with your anger, hurt and disappointments. It’s important to deal with the underlying feelings and thoughts before the addict comes home. Even attend your own individual therapy to work through the feelings and take care of your own needs and wants;
3. Stop Old Behaviors: Many of our old ways of coping are ineffective and contribute to the problem not the solution such as enabling, denial, blaming and minimizing the problem;
4. Keep an active social life and build on your own support network to talk and share your experiences. Learn to have fun and enjoy activities you did before to relieve stress and live a balanced lifestyle. Take care of yourself and spoil yourself and don’t feel guilty, you deserve it;
5. Offer encouragement to the recovering addict to continue attending 12-step meetings and their aftercare and be supportive of his or her efforts to heal. Do not be jealous of the time they need to spend doing these things, as it will work against the recovery process;
6. Understand that you are at the action stage of change but that the addict has their own time to work through the contemplation to action stages before they embrace change fully. Encourage and support them to not fall apart when they have to face challenges and difficulties and recognise positive changes they are making;
7. Learn everything you can about addiction being a disease to create an understanding for the addict’s behaviours and actions. It doesn’t let them off the hook to take responsibilities for these actions and behaviours, but creates mutual understanding of the complex nature of addiction;
8. Re-establish healthy communication patterns about sensitive issues of trust, negative feelings & thoughts by being practicing to be honest and open with each other and to really actively listen to one another;
9. Learn that relapse is part of recovery and what to do to help the recovering addict to identify warning signs and high risk situations as well as to deal with cravings and urges together. Confront warning signs and talk about this. Find activities to take their mind of the cravings and urges;
10. Set new clear boundaries and rules for recovery and keep to them called an aftercare contract. Don’t give in to their manipulative and convincing behaviour to twist the rules for at least the first 3-6 months after discharge from treatment. Keep in mind what the triggers are different from person-to-person and know what these triggers are like money, boredom, negative feelings, conflict, stress, etc. You can re-negotiate some minor rules but keep the major rules like curfews, access to money, cellphones, transport, using friends, etc. on the priority list;
11. Take a stand on alcohol in your home and evaluate your own drinking and using habits to ensure a safe clean supportive environment for your loved one;
12. Engage in Personal and Family Activities: working alone and together to find activities that serve as a source of personal and family fulfillment;
13. Check that all drug paraphernalia and substances are removed from their room before the recovering addict returns home;
14. Help to reduce stress in the recovering addict’s life for at least the first 3 months for the recovering addict to help them with practicing problem solving and decision making that was affected by addiction. This could include helping them with practical arrangements like getting to meetings, paying debts, managing a budget and other responsibilities, etc.


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