Veterans face many challenges during their time in the field, on deployment, or transitioning to new cultures back home in civilian life. Unfortunately, traumatic experiences are common for veterans. Physical and emotional traumas from being in an active warzone or on base can persist long after an individual has left the battlefield. 

As a result, the use of drugs and alcohol is common for veterans to self-medicate anxieties, depression, and more. However, this is also dangerous. Professional help to overcome these challenges is crucial. Helping a veteran loved one find treatment is essential for a healthy civilian life. Additionally, learning how to be supportive can help veteran loved ones find and pursue necessary treatment. 

The Need for Veteran Treatment

Veterans face a plethora of challenges, including trauma, addiction, stressful transitions, and isolation resulting from changing cultures. As so, veterans require a unique approach to treatment to effectively address their relationship with drugs and alcohol while tending to emotional needs. 

While veteran treatment is necessary, it can also be challenging to navigate. Likewise, there may be barriers that each veteran faces in their journey to treatment. Pervasive stigmas, feelings of guilt, and a compulsion to exude strength can all be prevalent. Helping veterans find treatment means finding the right way to support and navigate these challenges on the path to a healthy, sober life. 

How to Start Finding and Making Sober Friends in Recovery
How to Start Finding and Making Sober Friends in Recovery

Finding new social groups in sobriety can be intimidating, but there are resources to help. Learn more by calling Hawaii Island Recovery at (866) 390-5070.

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Providing Effective Support for Your Veteran Loved One

Supporting a veteran loved one to find and pursue treatment is a difficult task, with more nuance than one may first realize. Effectively supporting a veteran requires practice and education. However, support from loved ones is also instrumental in helping a veteran pursue treatment for trauma, addiction, or co-occurring disorders

Learning effective techniques to support veterans is necessary. Fortunately, there are many strategies individuals can use to empower a veteran loved one to participate in treatment.

Become Educated

Supports can only be effective if they are willing to learn and adapt to the needs of a loved one. Veterans face a myriad of challenges, and taking time to research these unique struggles is essential. Education can also mean finding dedicated veteran programs and talking about the amenities available to help a veteran better understand the mission and practice of any particular recovery program. 

By finding and familiarizing themselves with various recovery programs, individuals can better introduce these outlets to their loved ones. They can also help veterans become more open to the idea of recovery. This can be especially valuable if an educated, loved one is available to explore recovery alongside them.

Practice Effective Listening

Hearing what a loved one has to say and truly listening are very different. Being an active listener is essential to help veterans feel heard. It can be challenging for veterans to explore their own emotions and embrace the degree of vulnerability necessary to challenge feelings of isolation, depression, anxiety, or addiction. 

Asking questions and allowing veterans to speak their part is crucial. Listening can also help illuminate a veteran’s unique perspective and needs. This can help direct individuals to find the most pertinent recovery programs or online communities that can empower veterans to seek further treatment.

Still, there can be an innate desire to try to improve any kind of negative situation. For example, it can feel like a conditioned response to cheer a loved one up when they are sad. However, effective support can also create a space where it is okay to feel these difficult emotions and navigate depression, anxiety, or trauma. Being able to create a space that accepts a veteran’s feelings rather than trying to “fix” a problem can be the first step toward accepting these emotions and breaking down barriers to professional treatment programs. 

Build Communication

Communication is key in any kind of relationship. Helping a veteran loved one open up to the idea of treatment and recovery is no different. Effective supports are instrumental in establishing effective communication strategies. 

For some, this can mean physically checking in on a loved one each day. Others can make an effort to call or email their loved one regularly. Keeping contact consistent and open is necessary, and exploring which mediums are best for regular communication is key. 

Not only can this help veterans feel heard in their plights, but it also builds a deeper relationship based on respect. This can mentally scaffold the necessary support others can provide in professional treatment and recovery programs. 

Pursue Treatment Together

Addiction, mental health disorders, and trauma can affect entire families. Recovery is also a familial effort. Pursuing recovery together can empower veterans and their families to embrace recovery, explore new coping strategies, and educate themselves on the challenges ahead. 

Pursuing treatment together helps deconstruct various stigmas around recovery. It can also help to continue deepening these relationships for a sustained healthy civilian life outside of a dedicated recovery facility. 

Tackling Pervasive Drug Use in Veterans
Tackling Pervasive Drug Use in Veterans

Veterans face a myriad of challenges, with drug use being prevalent as a result of their military service. Overcome drug use today by calling (866) 390-5070.

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Locate Long-Term Continued Support

Support can continue to help establish effective recovery strategies beyond the walls of a center for alcohol and drug treatment. Finding local veteran support groups or sober living communities for veterans can all be instrumental in breaking through feelings of isolation that are common among veterans navigating civilian life. 

These can be local communities with regular meetings to connect a veteran loved one with peers or take the form of digital forums that connect veterans to peers across the country. Being open and prepared to introduce these ideas to a loved one can make for a continued effort in their recovery journey. 

Supporting a veteran loved one can be difficult, but we at Hawaii Island Recovery believe in learning and healing as a family. Our dedicated veteran programs, along with our familial support and education, are prepared to help you, and your veteran loved one challenge and overcome the effects of trauma and addiction for a healthier, sober life. From effective alcohol and depression treatment to comprehensive drug rehab programs in Hawaii, we can personalize each recovery journey to create a healthy and effective plan for veterans while building the best support networks possible. For more information on how we can help you, or to speak to a caring, trained staff member about your questions or concerns, call (866) 390-5070.