Five Ways to Support Someone in Recovery


The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration(SAMHSA) finds that recovery from substance use disorder, alcoholism, or addiction is improved through relationships and social networks. If someone you love is in recovery, your support can help them to improve and maintain their recovery.

Here are some ways you can help: 

  1. Be Connected

Early on in one’s recovery journey, one may experience what can best be described as an emotional rollercoaster. Feelings that had been numbed for so long can come rushing back all at once. These emotions can make an individual feel very isolated. Loved ones can help to counteract this by staying connected with the individual, especially in early recovery.

If your loved one is in inpatient treatment, there may be times when visitation is not possible. During this time a simple phone call, email, or text message can go a long way towards showing you care.

After the individual completes inpatient treatment you will likely have more access to them. Reconnecting with them through activities and or hobbies they enjoyed prior to their substance use disorder can be extremely effective.

  1. Be Nonjudgmental

While you may be angry with the individual (and rightfully so), rehashing all of their past transgressions in early recovery will likely not be helpful. This can lead to overwhelming guilt and shame and set the individual on a path for relapse. Focusing on what is happening now on the other hand can be extremely helpful. Maintaining an environment of nonjudgment will allow the individual to come to you if they are struggling or need to talk. 

  1. Educate Yourself

Learn all you can about addiction, alcoholism, substance use disorder, and the like. This will allow you to understand their behavior better, and be an asset to their recovery. As part of your learning process, learn about warning signs of relapse. Potential warning signs of relapse include:

-Secretive behavior

-Becoming isolated

-Finding excuses to miss meetings and or treatment appointments

-Returning to old people, places, or things they used or drank with or at

-Lack of interest in activities that have been helpful in recovering, such as exercise or hobbies

  1. Lend a Helping Hand

There are many ways to help an individual in recovery. Perhaps one of the better options is offering to help with responsibilities that conflict with attending treatment and or self-help meetings. Aside from that, if you don’t know what you can do, ask. Individuals in early recovery may be reluctant to ask for help. Taking the first step in offering is a great way to break the ice.

  1. Be There for The Long Run

Recovery doesn’t happen immediately. Instead, it is a lifelong journey. Unfortunately for some, that journey can include relapse. Don’t give up. Bad behavior associated with use does not need to be and should not be tolerated. That being said, if an individual wants to re-engage with recovery after relapse, we encourage you to support them.

Here at Harbor Wellness and Recovery Center, we offer various levels of care to treat addiction, substance use disorder, alcoholism, and co-occurring conditions such as depression and anxiety. For more information about our services please call us directly at 732-847-4555. We are available 24/7 to help. All calls are no obligation and are strictly confidential.