Watching someone you care about to choose to get help for their addiction is a proud moment. You might’ve seen them struggle with the effects of their addiction in the past. If you were extremely close to them, then the fact that they are choosing to get help probably comes as a relief. Knowing how to give support to an individual in recovery doesn’t require a whole lot of practice or training. Instead, you can start today by letting them know you care. After that, you’ll just want to follow these steps to keep providing them with what they need to maintain their momentum for treating their addiction.
Start By Getting Educated About Addiction
There are many myths about addiction that you’ll want to dispel so that you know how to help. For example, quitting drugs or alcohol isn’t a matter of willpower. Instead, people with an addiction need help to identify why they started using in the first place. Then, they’ll need to use therapies such as counseling and sometimes medication to help them address the underlying causes. You’ll also find it helpful to know that addiction recovery isn’t an instant process. Most people spend days to months in professional treatment as they work on emotional and physical healing. During this process, relapse is possible and fairly common. Watching for these signs of a relapse helps you know when to step in and talk to your loved one about going back to treatment.
•spending time with people they used with in the past
•skipping meetings and other forms of therapy
•glamorizing drug or alcohol use
•claiming they’ve recovered enough to just use occasionally
•isolating themselves or engaging in secretive behavior
Practice Active Listening and Offer Compassion
People in recovery will often let you know what they need if you just ask. They’re also likely to have some days that are better than others, and talking through their challenges is a huge part of how they stay sober. If your loved one reaches out to you, then try to make time to listen. They may want to vent about a situation that happened at work, or they may need to share about how their grief affects them. Try to avoid shelling out advice as they talk, unless they request it. Instead, listen intently and provide feedback by clarifying the things they say. You’ll also want to avoid passing down any judgment. When your friend knows that you’ll listen with empathy, they’ll be more likely to share with you in the future.
Take Practical Steps to Support Their Healthy Lifestyle
The next way to provide support is to put your boots on the ground. Someone in recovery might need hands-on support in multiple areas of their life. Your loved one might need someone to help them pick out a drug and alcohol treatment center if they are experiencing a relapse. Or, they might need you to feed their dog while they are in treatment. If your friend or family member is going to outpatient treatment, then they might need someone to provide them with transportation. Letting them know that you are willing to help makes it easier for them to request assistance as new needs arise.
The best way to support someone in recovery is just to keep being a good friend or family member. Try to remember that treating them like any other normal person helps them to avoid feeling stigmatized for having an addiction. As a final note, remember to help them have fun. Planning sober activities such as going hiking, surfing, or just hanging around the house all help them to fill their time and remember how good they feel now that they’re in recovery.
Do you know someone that is in recovery and needs more support? We can help you! Just call us today at 866-963-7200.