If someone that you love is currently in recovery for a substance abuse disorder, you are probably wondering how you can be as supportive as possible to them. Healing from a substance use issue can be very difficult, and many people struggle with this issue for years before they are able to successfully overcome their addictions. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over seven million Americans were dealing with a substance abuse disorder in 2014 alone, and this number may have risen in recent years. Fortunately, there are many places that people can go to to get the help that they need, whether they be addiction rehab centers in Florida or alternative treatments in other states. With this kind of medical support and treatment, along with the support and love of people who care, your loved one can get the help that they need and begin their successful recovery today.
The first and most important thing that you can do for a loved one in recovery is simply to be there for them and continue to be their friend. Many people alienate and drive away their friends and loved ones when they are in the throes of an addiction, so sticking by someone when they are in recovery is key. You don’t have to see them every day, of course, but make phone calls, text messages, emails, letters, and in-person visits a regular part of your life. Your loved one will appreciate your checking in with them and making sure that they know that they are not forgotten. Too often, people will turn their back on someone who is in recovery because they are angry about their actions when they were using. This will actually discourage someone who is trying to heal. Instead, try to forgive them for their past actions and keep an open mind about their future recovery.
When you talk to your loved one in recovery, keep the subject focused on the future and try to keep it positive. You don’t have to ignore the issues that they are having right now, but you should not focus on the things that you or they have done in the past. This includes not only any negative things that may have happened because of their substance use, which will only make them feel even more ashamed and guilty but also any of the fun times that you had together when they were still using, which will make them feel nostalgia for a past that was actually very dangerous and destructive. Try to find things in the future that they can look forward to, such as a game played by their favorite sports team, an album or concert tour by one of their favorite musicians or bands, or a book coming out on a subject that they are interested in. Feel free to provide them with interesting media to keep them optimistic and thinking about the future, but avoid books, movies, music, and television that is about the subject of drug abuse or features main characters who are currently using. These can be very triggering for someone who is trying to overcome an addiction, so stick to positive stories.
Another way that you can support and encourage your loved one as they work through their addiction and other issues is learn about the recovery process and to praise them on the progress that they have made so far. Try to become educated on the issues surrounding recovery so that you can be prepared for the worst. For example, between 40 and 60 percent of all people dealing with a substance use disorder may relapse, according to the National Institute of Drug Abuse, so any time spent abstaining should be celebrated. Learn about the Different types of addiction treatment programs that are available to your friend or loved one so that you can make recommendations and support them when they need help. Don’t be afraid to talk to them about alternative therapies that can further help their recovery, including practices like yoga, mindfulness, meditation, animal therapies, musical therapies, and others. Encourage your loved one to join support groups where they can meet others who are successfully working on their recovery.
Finally, don’t give up. Recovery can be hard and take time, but it is worth it. With hard work and support, your loved one can heal and get better.