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3 Ways to Support a Loved One in Addiction Recovery

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When your family member or close friend decides to enter an addiction recovery program, it can be a challenging and emotional time. Many friends and family members of people who are facing addiction issues fall into negative self-talk, feeling guilty and dwelling on what they could have done to help someone from getting to the point that they need professional recovery. However, the addiction recovery journey should be a very hopeful and positive process for everyone involved. Here are three key ways you can be supportive of your loved one as they undergo addiction recovery.

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1. Understand Their Addiction

Addiction takes many shapes, and each person arrives at their substance misuse, co-occurring disorder or mental trauma in a different way. To truly accept what your loved one is going through objectively, you need an appreciation of what they are going through. For example, someone with PTSD and co-occurring substance abuse will have a very different recovery experience from someone who needs therapy for a compulsive behavior such as gambling.

Some people are better at hiding the symptoms of their addiction, which may provide a semblance of normalcy over time. That’s why it’s essential for caring friends and family members to learn about the common signs of your loved one’s issue, including how you can identify any setbacks in the progress of their treatment.

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2. Support Their Decision to Enter Addiction Recovery

The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has identified community as one of the pillars to successful addiction recovery. According to SAMHSA, community is “having relationships and social networks that provide support, friendship, love and hope.” What does that mean for you? Well, while the person undergoing addiction recovery must initiate the process and commit to carrying out the active hard work on their own, it is impossible to overstate the importance of a supportive, loving and non-judgmental group of friends and family.

3. Just Be There

Addiction and co-occurring disorders such as depression can be a tremendous burden on someone who suffers with these conditions. They may feel ashamed of having admitted that they need help with a problem. Sometimes, the best thing you can do to demonstrate love and sympathy is just to make yourself available. Calling just to say hello, or stopping by with takeout from their favorite restaurant, can go a long way toward showing how much you care.

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Disclaimer: Does not guarantee specific treatment outcomes, as individual results may vary. Our services are not a substitute for professional medical advice or diagnosis; please consult a qualified healthcare provider for such matters.


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Reviewed professionally for accuracy by:

Ryan Soave


Ryan Soave brings deep experience as a Licensed Mental Health Counselor, certified trauma therapist, program developer, and research consultant for Huberman Lab at Stanford University Department of Neurobiology. Post-graduation from Wake Forest University, Ryan quickly discovered his acumen for the business world. After almost a decade of successful entrepreneurship and world traveling, he encountered a wave of personal and spiritual challenges; he felt a calling for something more. Ryan returned to school and completed his Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling. When he started working with those suffering from addiction and PTSD, he found his passion. He has never looked back.

Written by:

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark

Cayla Clark grew up in Santa Barbara, CA and graduated from UCLA with a degree in playwriting. Since then she has been writing on addiction recovery and psychology full-time, and has found a home as part of the Guardian Recovery team.

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