Supporting Loved Ones in Recovery: Do’s and Don’ts

do's and don'ts of supporting a loved one in recovery

For many in addiction recovery, the support of friends and family is essential. If you love someone with addiction, your support and love can be the difference between maintaining sobriety and getting caught in a long, complex cycle of relapse and recovery.

If you are the spouse, family member, or friend of someone in recovery from addiction, you may feel hopeful about the fresh start your loved one has. You might be looking forward to rebuilding your relationship and moving forward in life together.

But supporting someone in addiction recovery can sometimes be challenging and stressful. You may experience strong, unexpected emotions and stress as you try to balance caution and optimism about your loved one’s progress. You will also still have the same daily chores and responsibilities you did before, in addition to the self-care you’ll need to do to maintain your health and well-being.

Understanding what to do and what to avoid can make supporting a loved one in recovery easier. We put together this guide on how to support an addict in recovery. Reach out to the caring specialists at Moving Mountains Recovery for more support or to explore our holistic addiction treatment programs.

How to Support an Addict in Recovery

There are many things you can do to support an addict in recovery while also taking care of your own mental and physical health. Here are some “do’s” of supporting loved ones in recovery.

1. Do encourage their interests

People in recovery often struggle with a lack of structure and routine. Before rehab, their life likely centered around getting, using, and recovering from drugs or alcohol. Life in recovery can sometimes feel dull and lonely.

Encourage your loved one to seek new interests and hobbies or rekindle their interest in things they used to enjoy. Suggest they take a language or cooking class, join a gym, or learn a new musical instrument. It may take some time for your loved one to find what feels right, but encourage them to keep trying. This will help them productively fill their time and take some pressure off you to keep them active.

2. Do learn about recovery

The more you know about addiction and recovery, the better able you’ll be at supporting loved ones in recovery. Read books or articles about addiction recovery, including information about relapse triggers and recovery resources in your community.

3. Do maintain a sober environment

If your loved one will be living with you after rehab, you must create and maintain a sober living environment. Remove all alcohol and other intoxicating substances from the home. If you have prescription medications that have the potential for abuse or addiction, store them in a locked box out of sight.

Consider going the extra mile by having books or magazines about recovery or inspirational memoirs in the home. Create a comfortable, soothing environment that will support your loved one’s recovery.

4. Practice self-care

You can’t care for others if you’re always stretched to your limit, so it’s important that friends and family have support, too. Take time to practice authentic self-care. Attend individual therapy, exercise regularly, eat well, and take regular breaks from your loved one to wind down and think about your own needs.

What to Avoid When Supporting Loved Ones in Recovery

Your loved one will face challenges in their recovery journey–and so will you. You and your loved one are in this together. Avoiding certain things may help make the path to recovery smoother.

1. Don’t drink or use drugs

While it may seem obvious, this “don’t” is one of the most important. Don’t use drugs or alcohol around your loved one. Instead, find activities you can do together that support your relationship and improve your mental and physical health. Cook together, go on walks or to the gym, or find other activities you enjoy and practice them regularly. If you struggle with drug or alcohol abuse, consider seeking treatment.

2. Don’t exclude them

People in recovery often feel self-conscious or miss the life they used to have. If you exclude them from activities or gatherings, you may make this sense of separation even worse. Supporting loved ones in recovery may mean hanging out with their new peers or finding new ways of spending time together. Frequently reassure your loved one that they are important to you, and that you love them.

3. Don’t focus on the past

Your loved one likely has some guilt and shame about things that have happened in the past. Do the work to forgive them and stop blaming yourself so that you can focus on your future together instead. Remember that addiction is a disease that your loved one didn’t choose. Welcome your loved one home to a warm, nurturing environment and focus on rebuilding your relationship and future together.

Find Help Now

You don’t have to carry the weight of your loved one’s addiction alone. The support you need is just a phone call away. If you or someone you love needs substance abuse treatment or support during recovery, don’t wait another day for the help you need. Reach out to the specialists at Moving Mountains Recovery to learn about our holistic addiction treatment programs.

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