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How to Help a Recovering Addict

Although your loved one may have just completed a Christian addiction recovery program, their recovery is only just beginning. Sobriety is a life-long journey that comes with many ups and downs.

Because this can be a trying time for them, it is important that they know that they do not need to go through it alone. Being there for your friend, child, parent, sibling, or cousin could make all the difference. Faith in Recovery goes over how to help a recovering addict, as well as what to avoid.

How to Help Someone Recovering From Addiction

Trying to help someone in recovery and actually knowing how can be two very different things. Many people want to help but simply do not know how. Do not worry; our residential Christian drug rehab is sharing a few tips on the best way to help a recovering addict.

Educate Yourself

If you want to know how to help a recovering addict, you first need to know about addiction. Take the time to educate yourself about the addiction itself as well as any drugs that they used to abuse. There are plenty of resources out there that you can use.

Support Them

Early recovery especially can be a trying time for many people. Make sure you reach out to your loved one and offer them support. Knowing how to support a recovering addict can be tricky because everyone is different. Do they want someone checking in on them? Do they want someone they can call when they are ready? Do they need someone who will pop in unannounced and take them to fun places? Support can come in many forms, so ask them what they need from you.

Find Help for Yourself

Being in recovery isn’t only stressful for the former addict; it can also be stressful for their loved ones. If you find yourself constantly worrying about your loved one in recovery and often putting their needs above your own, you need to get help. Join a support group. Talk to a therapist. Find support online. It is important that you continue to take care of yourself as well.

Take Them Under Your Wing

Addiction can take over someone’s life. When they get sober, they may find themselves with plenty of free time that they need to fill. Help them fill that extra time by inviting them to different events, groups, or activities. This could be asking them if they would like to join your church group or go to the gym together on a regular basis.

Pray for Them

When you have done everything in your power to help a recovering addict, sometimes matters are out of your hand. At this point, you can turn to God for strength for yourself and strength for your loved one. At Faith in Recovery, we know that the power of prayer for addiction is an amazing thing.

What Not to Say to a Recovering Addict

Although words can be uplifting and inspiring, they can sometimes unintentionally hurt or provoke those who are in recovery. We must be careful with our words and refrain from saying things that could impede their progress or lead to unwarranted anxiety. Below are some examples of what should be avoided when attempting to help a loved one that is in recovery.

Avoid Confrontation

Addicts in recovery frequently suffer from emotions of guilt, humiliation, and self-doubt. Avoiding critical or confrontational language is essential to fostering a secure and encouraging workplace. Examples to avoid include:

  1. "You've let everyone down"- Shaming words can damage a person's self-esteem and reinforce negative self-perception. Instead of placing blame, recovery calls for understanding and compassion.
  2. "You'll never change"- Criticism and dismissal can be particularly harmful to someone going through rehabilitation. In order for them to have confidence in their capacity to change, they require support and encouragement.

Alternative approach: Highlight their accomplishments and efforts by stating something like, "I'm proud of how far you've gone. Your commitment to recovery and development motivates me as well.”

Avoid Enabling Behavior and Language

Enabling behavior can impede the healing process, so it's crucial to stay away from any language that may unintentionally support or belittle addictive habits. Phrases to avoid saying include:

  1. "Just one more won't hurt"- Trying to downplay the impact of addictive drugs or behaviors might hinder the recovery of an addict. Even minor relapses can have negative effects and hinder someone's rehabilitation.
  2. “Why don't you just stop? It can't be that difficult”- Addiction includes chemical changes in the brain, and recovery is a complicated process. Addiction recovery needs a lot of work, support, and professional assistance. They weaken their experience by underestimating the difficulties they face.

Alternative approach: Show compassion and acknowledge how challenging their journey has been, by expressing, for instance, "I know it's not easy, but I believe in your ability to overcome these problems. You're doing fantastic, my friend.

Avoid Stigmatizing Language

One of the most crucial things to keep in mind when speaking with an addict in recovery is to refrain from using stigmatizing language. Stigmatizing language can foster negative stereotypes and feelings of guilt and shame. Here are a few examples of inappropriate language:

  1. "You're just weak-willed"- A number of variables, such as genetic predisposition, environmental effects, and mental health, play a role in the complicated disease of addiction. Blaming the person for their addiction suggests a lack of empathy and understanding.
  2. "You'll never fully recover"- Recovery is a lifelong struggle, and it's important to support and encourage the person instead of sowing seeds of doubt or despair. Be careful not to make generalizations that jeopardize their development.

Alternative approach: Encourage others by saying things such as, "I believe in your strength and resilience. I'm here to help you on your road to recovery because you've come so far and have so many more places to go.”

Recovery with Our Christian-Based Rehab

Our options for Christ-centered addiction treatment are here to help your loved one get their life back on track. It is crucial that these resources are sought out to prevent these problems from escalating even further. We also offer a fantastic aftercare program that can aid your loved one in maintaining the lessons learned whilst in treatment.

If your loved one has relapsed or still needs help, our faith-based addiction rehab may be able to help. Overcome your addiction problems and also take the time to reconnect or strengthen your relationship with God. Talk to one of our admissions specialists and get started by calling 888-280-4763.

Related Reading

What Does the Bible Say About Enabling?

Signs You’re Dating a Drug Addict