Dr. Aaron's Blog

The Addicts support system. SO IMPORTANT !

June 11, 2015 Addiction, All, Naturopathic Medicine, Nutrition, Recovery coaching, Vitamin Therapy by Aaron Van Gaver

Scott Oake, a CBC broadcaster, was recently interviewed by the host of the CBC radio show, Definitely Not the Opera. He spoke as a family member of an addict – highlighting the enormous strain on the support system of an addict.

We focus a lot on how to heal and move beyond addiction, but working with family and friends is just as important. These are the individuals who make up the support team for someone struggling with addiction. Not only do family and friends have their own grief and sadness – beautifully mentioned by Scott Oake as he spoke about the loss he felt on behalf of his son, but they may also feel guilt or responsibility. When someone you love is struggling, especially a child or sibling, it is easy to feel there was more you could have done or should have done to prevent the pain they experience and progression to addiction. On top of all these internal emotions, the physical and emotional strain of supporting someone with an addiction can be exhausting. 

When I am working with individuals struggling with addiction I always address their support system. While my primary focus is working with the individual struggling with an addiction, I am always happy to work with their support system as well – I am often just one aspect of team when working with recovering addicts. The multifaceted approach of naturopathic medicine provides me with many tools to offer. Family members may benefit from acupuncture or IV therapy to manage stress, or they may just need some suggestions for self-care.

While the journey of someone struggling with addiction cannot be understood by anyone else, those around him or her have their own struggle that we need to be aware of. As a naturopathic doctor I can provide some support whether that means information, someone to talk to, or some physical treatment, I encourage anyone who is working alongside and addict to listen to the interview. It provides validation for the less obvious strain and struggle of family and friends.