When someone you know is suffering from an addiction, you can feel helpless. Because addiction is so pervasive, almost everyone will have an opportunity to support someone through the challenges of recovery. Below are a few ways to support someone who is suffering from addiction.
1. Encourage them to seek help.
Many people who are facing addiction know they have a serious problem, but not all of them are equipped to handle it. Rehabilitation can be expensive, embarrassing, and disruptive. Ultimately, it is worth it. Encourage any addicts in your life that there are viable options for them and you support them seeking help at all costs. Don’t wait for them to do the research themselves, if they express any interest in seeking help, make the necessary calls or appointments.
2. Remind them they are worthy.
Recovery is not an easy process. Overcoming addiction is one the greatest challenges that anyone can face. It is truly a fight every step of the way, and it is not a fight anyone can willingly engage in if they don’t believe in the outcome. Remind them that they are valuable a deserve to live a life free of addiction. Believing in them gives them the extra push to believe in themselves.
3. Be honest.
Throughout the process of recovery, it is important to maintain a policy of honesty. Be honest about how their addiction has affected you and allow them to be honest about how the recovery process is affecting them. Be honest about your own personal failures. Showing them that everyone makes mistakes is a big part of encouraging a healthy environment to recover.
4. Take away the outside worries.
When someone enters residential rehabilitation or begins other recovery programs it can be a challenge to keep up with the rest of the world. Offer to help in practical ways by absorbing some tasks that refuse to wait for them outside of their healing process. That might mean offering to sit for children or pets, or pick up an extra shift at work. Make life outside of their addiction less stressful in any way you can.
5. Give them something to look forward to.
Simply living a life filled with joy can support those that are suffering to keep pushing forward. Make plans for a healthier future and include them in the process.
6. Create a positive environment.
Addiction can tear apart every aspect of the addict’s life. Put some energy into creating a positive environment for them to live in. Positive energy doesn’t just mean sending flowers to someone’s office. Try finding positive energy in less tangible forms by starting interesting conversations, playing some pick-up games at the park, or finding new hobbies with uplifting people.
7. Have an open door policy.
Addiction is not convenient, and fighting it isn’t either. One of the best things you can do to support those struggling with it is to have an open door policy. Allow and encourage them to come over anytime they feel tempted or need to talk through a difficult stage other recovery.
8. Avoid trigger spaces or people.
There are different types of addiction and each comes with its own triggers. For some, triggers can be a specific place or person with whom they indulge. For others, triggers can take unpredictable forms. Be open and respectful of any triggering notions that they establish. Do your best to avoid engaging in activities that would be unsafe for your loved ones in recovery.
9. Don’t give up on them.
Addiction is complicated and people aren’t perfect. Relapses are not uncommon and may be part of the road to recovery. Whatever happens throughout the journey, don’t give up on them. Often, those suffering with addiction have already given up on themselves so your belief is doubly important.