When someone that you love decides to turn their life around and get treatment for an addiction at a Pasadena drug rehab, you want to be as supportive as possible to them. However, if you don’t have a lot of experience dealing with people in treatment and recovery, you may be confused as to how you can help. After all, you don’t want to do anything that might hurt their chances of a successful recovery, but you do want to show your support and help your friend or family member to get better. If you’re struggling with how to best support your loved one while they are dealing with their addiction, consider these four tips going forward.
Don’t Talk About Your Own Past Substance Use
This may seem like an obvious point, but sometimes people will talk about their own past substance abuse issues in an attempt to be empathetic. This is an excellent motive and a very understandable attempt at making your loved one feel better. Unfortunately, when someone is still dealing with their addiction, talking about these subjects can actually make things worse. It can remind them of their own past drug or alcohol use, bringing up feelings of regret, shame, or sadness. It can also cause them to remember more positive past experiences while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, making it more likely that they will start reminiscing about their past. Neither of these outcomes is positive and both can put your loved one’s recovery at risk. Instead, simply skip these stories and talk about the present and future, without bringing up your loved one’s addiction.
Don’t Dwell On The Past
Besides avoiding the subjects of drugs and alcohol, you may also want to avoid talking about the past more generally, at least in a negative sense. The last thing you want to do is to focus on mistakes that your loved one made while they were still suffering from addiction. Generally, people who are in recovery are already dealing with profound feelings of guilt. And, if they are getting help right now, they already obviously aware of the mistakes that they made in the past and are already trying to correct them. Instead of focusing on bad past behavior, talk to men and women in recovery about positive plans moving forward. If you have to talk about the past, focus on good memories that have nothing to do with addiction or substance abuse. If you’re still angry about actions your loved one took in the past, seek help with your anger before reaching out.
Look Towards the Future
Since you don’t want to focus on the past, focus on the future ahead of your loved one, with an emphasis on optimism. After all, you can have confidence that your friend or family member will be better off after they have completed their recovery and started living sober. Why not discuss all of the wonderful things that they have to look forward to, now that they have a future worth fighting for? Think about hobbies and interests that your friend has, especially if they neglected to participate in these while they were suffering from addiction. Talk about trips that you can take together, classes that you can attend, and events that your loved one can look forward to. Maybe a favorite band is releasing a new album or going on tour? Is your loved one’s favorite sports team doing well this season? Keep your focus on the future and your attitude positive.
Listen to Them Without Judgment
Sometimes, whether you’re in recovery or just dealing with difficulties in life, you just need a shoulder to lean on and someone to listen to you. While most rehabilitation centers offer plenty of opportunities for therapy where your loved one can speak freely, they may also want to talk to you about private issues. Your job isn’t to give them answers or to provide them with therapeutic advice. After all, there are professionals trained to do these things. Instead, as a friend, your job is simply to listen without judgment. Your loved one is most likely struggling with a lot of emotions, and the best thing that you can do is simply receive them and accept them as they are.
By supporting your friend in recovery, you increase their chances of success. Don’t worry about being perfect or saying the right thing, just be there for your friend.