A support system is an urgent and essential need for a person in addiction recovery. Genuine and judgment-free care can go a long way. Sometimes a simple “how are you?” is what a person needs in times of difficulty.
Addiction is a disease. A person suffering from substance abuse disorder does not proactively choose addiction. Sometimes, there is a deeper reason behind it. Also, addiction is not a characteristic. When your friend or loved one becomes addicted, they are still the same person you love and care for. They just got tangled in an unhealthy coping mechanism.
But how can you offer words of comfort to a loved one battling addiction?
How to Approach Someone Recovering from Addiction
Talking to someone in addiction recovery is somewhat challenging because not everybody is comfortable enough to talk about the experience. Also, there is a feeling of shame in the picture, especially if you do not experience rehab yourself.
One thing to remember is to think first before you burst out the words. Sensitivity is common for people who are in addiction recovery. Even the smallest word can trigger their emotion.
You should probably avoid saying the following things to a friend in addiction recovery:
- “Hey, I know you’re sober, but I kind of miss our partying.”
- “One glass wouldn’t hurt you.”
- “I heard you went to rehab for drug addiction. We’re all talking about it. What was that like? Did you basically live in jail with a bunch of crazy meth heads?”
- “Isn’t Alcoholics Anonymous based on belief in God? Eww.”
- “Don’t you miss drinking? If I were in your shoe, I definitely would.”
For ordinary situations, these sentences meant well. But if you are talking to someone in addiction recovery, these things reek of pure insensitivity. Instead, you can tell these things:
- “Hey, your mother informed me of your whereabouts for the past month. I’m sorry you were having trouble; hopefully, your rehab has gone well. You have my unwavering support as you strive to better yourself, so please let me know if there is anything I can do to make the process go more smoothly.”
- “Hey, I know that what you are going through is a sensitive topic. I just want to understand your situation more. Is it okay if I ask you some basic things? You don’t have to answer if you’re uncomfortable.”
- “I am really proud of you.”
- “I admire your strength and resolve to turn your life into the life that you deserve. I can see your progress, and it suits you well.”