Recovery from a substance use disorder can be a team effort. If you have a friend or family member in recovery, supporting them throughout the process can mean the world—perhaps even save their life.
Here are a few ways you can support and celebrate friends and family in recovery:
Educating yourself can help you better support your friend or family member if you’re not familiar with recovery and substance use disorders. It can help you understand what a substance use disorder is, what can cause it, and how you can help prevent misuse.
Understand that no two recovery journeys are the same. What worked for one person may not be the right thing for another. Being patient with an individual in recovery can help you set realistic expectations, and understand that healing doesn’t happen overnight or in a few weeks.
When your friend or family member is in recovery, be a safe, non-judgmental ear for them. Being supportive and there for them when they need it can mean the world. Let them dictate when and how they come to you for support and if they don’t want you to do something like offer advice, respect that decision. If or when they want your advice, they will ask for it.
If you have been through the journey of recovery, offer to tell them your story and perhaps answer some of their questions.
Advocate for them
During events where there may be alcohol, be there for your friend and support their decision to abstain. If they are feeling pressured, you can have an agreed-upon code word with them that they can communicate to you if they think they need your assistance.
Take care of yourself
When supporting friends or family in recovery, remember to take care of yourself too. SUD affects everyone, and neglecting your care can lead to stress with physical and mental symptoms. Taking care of yourself can help avoid blame, allow you to set healthy boundaries, and reduce stress.
Eating healthy and getting enough exercise can help ease symptoms of stress and anxiety and help you sleep better. So, get out for a good walk and invite your friend or family member to join you!
Reach out to PreventEd for resources
Seeking assistance is beneficial for those suffering from SUD and their circle of close family and friends. PreventEd is dedicated to helping individuals and their families find the appropriate resources to battle a substance use disorder and find recovery. We are here to answer any of your questions, set up an assessment, or provide resources.