Addiction recovery is can be one of the most challenging journeys in a person’s life and is often deeply personal. A successful substance abuse recovery journey necessitates a support system of people the struggling addict can rely on and trust to help them through. If you have a person in your life who is recently sober, just out of rehab, or trying to stay clean, it can be difficult to know how best to support them.
Recovery is a unique and personal journey. While not every piece of advice on this list will resonate with you, there are a handful of practices that can be helpful in any situation. We hope these ideas will aid you in being the best support system you can for your loved one.
1. Encourage Healthy Habits
Addiction impacts every part of a person’s life, and afterwards it can be difficult to pick up the pieces. Help your loved one replace negative habits with ones that will benefit their lives with routines for things like hygiene, self-love, exercise, or healthy eating. Demonstrate the impact of these habits for your loved one and help them to create stability and long-term habits that will benefit their lives.
2. Learn More About Addiction
Professionals are constantly working to better understand the disease, and like any other sickness, understanding the most up-to-date information will allow you to know and implement the best practices. This can be as small as knowing what language and advice can be best to use and as big as knowing what signs of relapse to look out for.
3. Leave Judgement At The Door
Individuals who are recovering from addiction often feel a lot of guilt and shame for their past and the actions. Make sure that your loved one knows they are not judged and in a safe space to share and process.
4. Reduce Environmental Triggers
Addictive tendencies can often be exacerbated by the environment recovering addicts are in. Knowing what these triggers are and doing your best to remove them can make it easier to stay sober. This
5. Set Healthy Boundaries
Helping a person in their recovery can be a physically and emotionally draining job. So that you can provide the best emotional and physical support to your loved one, make sure to know what you can and cannot handle. If there are topics that make you uncomfortable, an amount of time that is too much of a strain, or a task that is the last straw, it’s okay to let your loved one know you can’t handle it. Taking care of yourself will allow you to be more present and available.
6. Encourage Continued Treatment
Professionals agree that continuing with necessary treatment, whether through talk therapy, a support group, or any other form of treatment is one of the deciding factors in contributing sobriety. Encourage your loved one to find treatment programs that work in their lives and help them continue their journey.
7. Be Available And Open About Your Support
Recovery can be isolating and confusing, so be vocal about your support and availability. Let your loved one know directly what you can do for them and reassure them that you want to be there for them. Continual availability and support will allow your loved one to be able to open up and trust that you, and others in their support system, will be there for them.
8. Create An Environment Of Honesty
Addiction and recovery can be full of difficult stories and uncomfortable truths. By creating a place for you and your loved one to discuss all of your experiences and how the disease impacted you, both of you will be able to process the past and present. Don’t shy away from the difficult conversations, because they are necessary for healing.
This article was written exclusively for Love What Matters by Anna Steingruber. Join the Love What Matters family and subscribe to our newsletter.
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