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15 Tips on How to Support a Loved One in Recovery

Supporting a person recovering from substance use can be challenging but vital. Recovery is a journey, and having a solid support system can significantly improve the chances of success. Here are some tips on how to support someone in recovery:

1. Educate Yourself:

Learn about addiction, the recovery process, and the specific substance or substances the person was using. Understanding addiction as a disease can help you empathize and offer better support.

2. Be Non-Judgmental and Compassionate:

Avoid blaming or shaming the person for their past actions. Recovery is already a difficult process without added guilt or shame.

3. Encourage Professional Help:

Suggest that they seek professional treatment if they haven't already. Treatment may include therapy, counseling, detoxification, or support groups. Help them find suitable resources and offer to assist in making appointments or attending sessions.

4. Attend Support Meetings:

Attend support group meetings like Alcoholics Anonymous (AA), Narcotics Anonymous (NA), or SMART Recovery with them if they are open to it. These groups provide a sense of community and understanding.

5. Establish Boundaries:

Set clear and healthy boundaries to protect yourself and the person in recovery. Boundaries should be supportive but firm, helping to prevent enabling behavior.

6. Avoid Triggers:

Identify and help the person avoid situations or people that might trigger cravings or relapse. This may involve making changes to their social circle or daily routines.

7. Provide Emotional Support:

Listen actively and offer emotional support. Let the person know you're there for them and provide a safe space to express their feelings and struggles.

8. Celebrate Milestones:

Acknowledge and celebrate their achievements, no matter how small. Milestones in recovery, such as days or months of sobriety, can be significant and motivating.

9. Encourage Healthy Habits:

Support their efforts to adopt a healthier lifestyle. This can include eating well, exercising, and getting enough sleep, all of which contribute to overall well-being and resilience against relapse.

10. Be Patient:

Recovery is not a linear process, and setbacks can happen. Be patient and understanding during the ups and downs of their journey.

11. Avoid Enabling:

Be cautious not to enable their addiction by providing money, shelter, or other resources that might be used to support their substance use.

12. Offer Practical Help:

Assist with practical matters like transportation, childcare, or job searching. These can be significant stressors for someone in recovery.

13. Encourage Hobbies and Interests:

Help the person discover or rekindle hobbies and interests that provide positive outlets for their energy and focus.

14. Communicate Openly:

Maintain open and honest communication. Encourage them to share their thoughts and concerns and be willing to address any issues that arise.

15. Seek Support for Yourself:

Caring for someone in recovery can be emotionally taxing. Consider seeking support through therapy, counseling, or support groups to help you cope with your feelings and challenges.

Remember that recovery is a personal journey; what works for one person may not work for another. Tailor your support to the individual's needs and preferences and be prepared for setbacks while remaining committed to their long-term well-being.

If your group or organization is interested in our no-cost programs for schools and workplaces, contact us at or call 716-827-9462.

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