If you’re a friend or family member of somebody who is in recovery, you probably want to do anything you can to help them succeed. After all, they’re reclaiming their life and becoming a better person. Addiction, however, can be a sensitive topic. You may not be sure how to approach it. Here’s how to approach somebody you’d like to help with their recovery.
- Let them know you’d like to help them, but you aren’t sure how. Ask them if there are specific things you can do to help them. Don’t be disappointed if they ask you for something simple. They may, for example, say they need a ride to their 12-step meeting or a few dollars for some coffee. (Don’t give them a lot of money in the early stages in recovery.)
- Let them know other ways you can help. Maybe, for example, they have been worried about looking for a job and need help formatting their resume. Perhaps you have experience in some of the other things they are going through, and you’re happy to talk about your experiences.
- Be available to talk. If you’re able to answer the phone any time day or night, let your loved one know this. Or check in with your loved one once a day at a scheduled time.
- Learn more about addiction and recovery. There are plenty of books that you can find on the topic. Make sure you choose one that has been published within the past few years – science and medical knowledge has evolved. There is also a lot of great information about addiction available at The National Institute on Drug Abuse.
- Don’t enable your loved one. Enabling means making it easier for them to get high or ignore responsibility. Encourage them to accept responsibility for their actions and work towards goals. It may seem like “rescuing” a person from their problems will help them, but it won’t. If they need money to pay a bill, consider it a loan and write the check to the company, not your loved one. Big amounts of cash are a terrible idea for somebody new to recovery.
- Help them get help. You can’t fix your loved one, but you can help them find the resources they need. This may mean looking up a treatment or detox center. You may need to read reviews of therapists online for them. Or they may just need you to pick them up and drop them off for therapy or a 12-step meeting.
Recovery is a journey, not a destination, and your loved one will appreciate the help you’ve given along the way. One of the hardest parts of recovery for family members is letting go so the recovering person can begin to steer their own ship again. Sometimes family members of those in recovery need to have their own recovery plan, as well. If you have a loved one in recovery, but you’re having trouble letting go, consider joining therapy or Al-Anon, a group for people who have loved ones with substance use problems.
Getting Help for You or Your Loved One
Do you or your loved one have a problem with alcohol or drugs? We offer a safe, clean, supportive environment for detox and can help you make a plan for recovery in the future. We can help you find comfort and clarity and can answer any questions you may have at 1-888-959-3277.