Published On: August 4, 20153.7 min read748 wordsCategories: Recovery
Your friend, family member or spouse faces many challenges day in and day out during addiction recovery. And it has often been proven that one of the best supports during this transitional time is more than just the stable environment of a treatment center— it’s the dedication and encouragement that you—the community of the individual—can provide. By encouraging a sober lifestyle through both your words and actions, you can become a significantly positive influence in the recovery of your loved one.
Ways to encourage sobriety
Encouraging sobriety isn’t about praising every victory and morning every setback; instead, it’s about being supportive as your loved one crafts a new lifestyle and leaves behind choices of the past. By taking action and walking with them through this journey, you can show support more than just through words alone.
Addiction often puts a strain on relationships between friends and family members and the ones suffering from addiction. As the addiction grows, the importance of those relationships lessens in their life.It’s likely you felt these effects, but it is absolutely crucial to the success of their recovery that you forgive and forget. If you have forgiven your loved one, make sure he or she knows you don’t hold any grudges about the past. Stick to your word by not bringing up old transgressions. Say to them verbally, “I forgive you,” and then act like it.
Anyone who battles addiction also is likely to battle guilt and shame. They beat themselves up enough, so it’s your job to remind them that they are more than their past mistakes and that you don’t judge them for what they’ve done.
They may also feel like people are just waiting for them to relapse. Even if they do make a mistake (and it’s honestly an important part of recovery that they learn from these mistakes that do occur), let them know that they’re no failure. Encourage them to see this as a learning opportunity and show them that one mistake will not send you away.
Having someone to talk to is important in maintaining sobriety. It gives your loved one the ability to externally process what is going on in their mind, come up with plans for the future and bounce ideas off the people they trust. While it’s important to set healthy boundaries (some things are best managed by a licensed therapist), letting your loved one know you’re always willing to listen is encouragement enough.
Show your encouragement by offering positive reinforcement for new behavior. For example, if you notice that they seem more relaxed after going to a support group meeting, tell them you think that the meetings are helpful because you sense they feel better afterward. If you see your loved one trying to do more in other areas of their life, offer support there, too. Tell them you think it’s great that they are learning a new hobby or taking on more responsibility at work.
Offer a safe space
It’s important for someone in recovery to be in environments free of drugs or alcohol, especially in the beginning. Make your home a safe place to visit. When you go out, suggest other types of social activities instead of bars or clubs so they won’t have to worry about being around alcohol or drugs. They’re going to struggle enough with the challenges of everyday life—ensure they don’t have to also struggle around you.
Encourage healthy habits
Suggest finding other pastimes to replace old bad habits. Offer to join a sports group or take up a hobby with your loved one. Remind them that part of being healthy is eating right and exercising, so offer support in those areas, too, by cooking healthy meals or going to the gym with them.
Recovery from addiction is a process that never ends, but it does get easier with time. By being supportive of your loved one’s efforts, you can help them continue to maintain sobriety.
Action and words of encouragement for sobriety
While it’s important to do what you can—be it listening, conversing or encouraging sobriety through your own actions – it’s also important that your loved one gets the right kind of help. Freedom Detox offers both outpatient alcohol and drug rehab in the Charlotte area, with detox and recovery programs custom-designed for each individual. To get in contact with a counselor today, call our offices anytime at 800-475-2312.
The information on this website is for general information purposes only. Nothing on this site should be taken as medical advice for any individual case or situation. This information is not intended to create, and receipt or viewing does not constitute, a doctor-patient relationship.