Watching a loved one struggle through the addiction recovery process can be heartbreaking. You likely want to be there to help them through it, but you may not know exactly what you can do for them. The most important thing is making sure that your loved one knows that they are not alone, and that you are there for them in their time of need. For those wishing to support a loved one through recovery, what you can do to help depends on the type of treatment program they’re participating in.
If your loved one is receiving clinical treatment full-time, there may be certain restrictions or rules regarding visitation that may limit your ability to interact with them. Sometimes, those participating in in-patient treatment programs will have access to email or letters, which can often be a great way to stay connected to your loved one throughout recovery. Regardless of your method of communication, it’s important that you remain positive and encouraging as you interact with your loved one. Try to refrain from discussing stressful topics, and simply be there to support your loved one and instill confidence in them.
If your loved one is transitioning out of inpatient treatment, or is recovering through an outpatient program, be mindful of your own behaviors to ensure that your own actions—although unintentional—will not interfere with the recovery process. This means becoming aware of your loved one’s triggers and doing your part to reduce exposure to them.
You can also show your ongoing love and support by becoming familiar and involved with your loved one’s treatment plan, and by learning which healthy coping strategies will be most beneficial when your loved one is struggling. Being involved in your loved one’s treatment plan may also mean participating in therapy sessions with them. Being at their side through group or individual therapy can be encouraging for your loved one, and may inspire them to open up their dialogue more freely.
Being there to support your loved on throughout their recovery takes commitment and hard work. You’ll need to take the time to learn about addiction and the recovery process, as well as your loved one’s unique circumstances and individual needs throughout the treatment process. By educating yourself early on, you’ll be a more effective supporter for your loved one, and a part of the foundation they’ll need to build and maintain their sobriety.