When your loved one is suffering from addiction, you want to help them in any way you can. But it’s easy to feel unsure about the right way to offer assistance.
The last thing you want to do is feed their addiction. While you may wish to offer your unwavering support, you don’t want to condone their behavior. While it can be tempting to help a struggling friend or family member out with a short-term loan, you don’t want to fund their addiction.
Instead, turn your attention to other ways you can offer assistance. Read on to get a few ideas.
How to Support a Recovering Addict
Whether you’re nudging someone into recovery or helping a loved one who is already there, here are four sound ways to reach out:
Offer emotional support — Knowing friends and family are standing behind them can make all the difference to someone struggling with addiction. This is a form of validation. Alcoholics and drug users often suffer from low self-esteem. Having friends and family who believe in them can give them the strength to battle their addiction and remain sober.
Encourage them toward rehab— It’s not easy to convince someone struggling with addiction to find help. Whether you choose to stage an intervention or plan a one-on-one conversation, your encouragement can help a loved one find help when he or she needs it most. Plan out your approach beforehand and consult drug or alcohol abuse counselors beforehand to get advice.
Become a sounding board for their struggles — Individuals struggling with addiction are often reluctant to talk to anyone about their problems for fear of being judged. Invite your loved one to open up, and listen to them. You can offer advice when asked, but your presence and listening skills will help them unburden themselves.
Give help with other things — When someone is in rehab, outside life doesn’t stop. Perhaps you can visit your loved one’s house and water their plants while they are away, or maybe you can help with childcare if they have young kids. Even bringing over a home-cooked meal when they return from rehab can be a lifesaver as they become adjusted to sober routines.
How to Help Someone in Recovery
These are just a few ways you can offer assistance to those struggling with addiction without offering them money or validating their destructive choices. Most addiction is rooted in pain, whether it’s trying to forget a spouse’s death or escape from feelings of guilt.
When you reach out in the spirit of understanding, rather than judgment or blame, you’ll be able to connect with your loved one and help support their recovery.