Recovery quite often begins in the home. This is not unusual. It makes sense, even from a proximity standpoint. It is also true that recovery must continue in the home. Individuals are only in a treatment facility or recovery center for so long before it becomes time to come home and get on with their day-to-day lives. This is why creating safe spaces for loved ones is so crucial for those of us on the outside of the recovery experience looking in.
What Does It Mean to Be a Mental Health Advocate?
Being a mental health advocate is not an “either/or” position. It is more of a fluid position that we take on based on the needs of the individual that we are helping. Also, being a mental health advocate does not mean that we have to be fully integrated into the recovery community.
We can be mental health advocates by simply being willing and available to help when somebody needs it. This might mean giving someone a ride to treatment or a recovery meeting. It might mean answering the phone when someone is struggling and needs to talk it out. Being a mental health advocate also means creating safe spaces and avoiding “triggering” someone into wanting to drink or use illicit substances.
How to Be a Mental Health Advocate at Home
Many people may not be aware of how prevalent relapses are among people in recovery. This can be especially true regarding alcohol use disorder (AUD).
According to the Journal of Psychiatric Research, “Alcohol use disorder (AUD) is the most prevalent and costly of substance use disorders, with an incidence rate of 13.9% across the U.S. population… Despite the ongoing development and refinement of pharmacological and psychosocial treatments, at least 60% of those with AUD will relapse to hazardous drinking within 6 months following treatment. Furthermore, relapse within 6 months of treatment is associated with extended periods of hazardous drinking and adverse psychosocial consequences, marking a critical need to understand factors related to relapse.” One of these factors is not having a healthy environment to come home to after treatment.
Creating safe spaces for recovery at home does not have to be complicated either. It may simply mean eliminating alcohol and any other substances from the home. Creating safe spaces may also mean creating a list of boundaries for the entire family to follow in case a mental health or addiction relapse happens. The reality is that lacking boundaries (or “enabling”) when someone is drinking or using does more harm than it does good.
How to Make Your Home Inviting and “Non-triggering” for People in Recovery
It is also possible to create a safe space for individuals in recovery, even if they don’t directly live in the home. This might mean eliminating alcohol and drugs from the home entirely, or at least when individuals in recovery are present.
It might also mean making your home available and unavailable to people in recovery at a specific time. For example, having an open home and safe space for someone who is in healthy sobriety or mental health disorder remission can be extremely helpful. However, not making our home available when someone is drinking or using is more helpful in the long run. Though it may feel difficult at the time, not giving someone a place to feed their addiction may help them make their way to a recovery center sooner.
This doesn’t mean that as mental health advocates, we can’t call someone in recovery who may have more experience helping. Having a sober network with people both in recovery and in the recovery field can be very helpful. It is also important to remember that having recovery boundaries also ensures that we stay safe as well. We cannot help anyone if our safety is ever in jeopardy.
The Phoenix Recovery Center: Mental Health Advocates 24/7, 365
Here at The Phoenix Recovery Center, we believe in being mental health advocates all day and all night, all year long. Helping people struggling with mental health and addiction is why we got into this, and we make sure that we are fully engaged at all times.
In addiction and mental health recovery, there is something called the “Responsibility Statement,” and we honor it every day with every client we help. The statement reads, “I am responsible. When anyone, anywhere, reaches out for help, I want the hand of [recovery] always to be there. And for that: I am responsible.”
We are here for one main mission; to help those struggling to recover. For that, we are proud to be responsible, and we’re ready to help anyone who wants to join us in that mission.
If you feel like someone you love is struggling with issues of mental illness, addiction, or both, we can help get them on the road to long-term recovery. We can also help you get all of the resources and information you need to become a more effective mental health advocate. For more information about how to create a safe space at home, please contact The Phoenix Recovery Center today at (801) 438-3185.