The Dos And Don’ts Of Helping A Loved One Recover From Addiction

It might come as a surprise to you that around one out of ten US citizens has recovered from drug addiction issues. So, it is highly likely you already know someone battling their demons while trying to recover. Maybe it is your spouse, family member, friend, or neighbor. But, with that in mind, it isn’t easy to identify the best approach to support your loved ones since silence and stigma usually surround drug addiction. Whatever the case is, recovery won’t be easy without support from a loved one. Detoxification and withdrawal will be challenging to tackle alone. Your friend or family member might be on the brink of relapse, and your support is the only thing that can help them keep away from using harmful substances again.

That said, where do you come in when helping your loved one recover from addiction. After all, the road to recovery will be full of speed bumps, and they will need someone to help them navigate these obstacles and avoid crashing. So, without further delay, let us look at some dos and don’ts of helping a loved one recover from addiction. Some of them are listed down below. 

The Dos

Do encourage them to get help

As with any disease or infection, the earlier you seek treatment, the quicker the recovery. That said, don’t be surprised if your loved one comes up with excuses as to why they won’t or can’t seek treatment. However, you have to remain persistent and tell them the importance of treatment for their addiction issues. Moreover, you can also get in touch with the local rehab or addiction recovery center as it might be required to overcome addiction. For instance, you can contact Serenity at Summit if you’re searching for inpatient services for someone battling addiction. In the end, professional help is something that will speed up the recovery process manifold. 

Do reaffirm your love for them

A loved one battling addiction might not react well to your reaching out and offering your help to them. Unfortunately, it is common to get defensive in such situations. In fact, the person might think that you’re judgemental about the way they go about their lives, which is a lifestyle they don’t believe is dangerous for them. However, reaffirm to them that you are doing this for their good. Explain to them why drugs can cause serious harm to their health in the long term. Show them love and compassion and dedicate yourself to their recovery.

Do communicate with them in a supportive and kind manner

Try to avoid framing your thoughts in a way that might seem troublesome. Instead, do it in a supportive and loving way. For instance, if you’re concerned about a friend, family member, or loved one in recovery, avoid asking accusatory questions. It will put them on the back foot, and they won’t open up to you. Instead of asking them if they started using drugs again, go for subtle questions like, ‘you don’t look happy the past few days; did something happen?’ they will be more responsive and will comminute their problems with openness.

Do resist the urge to babysit

Instead of doing everything for your loved one in recovery, ask them if you can help out in a particular way. For instance, if they have to go to an appointment, offer your help to look up train/bus routes and schedules instead of driving them yourself. Or, if they are looking for a new recovery counselor, help them prepare a list of potential candidates instead of searching for one yourself. If you take all their workload onto yourself, they will become entirely reliant on you to do everything.

The Don’ts.

Don’t nag

It is vital to trust the person when they are going through recovery. When you see that you trust them, they will eventually know that they’re supported and trusted. In addition, it will allow them to make better, more responsible life decisions. For example, if you’ve left them alone inside their house, instead of constantly calling them and nagging them, trust them that they will stay out of trouble.

Don’t treat them like kids

You must give your loved ones in recovery the same respect you would expect from someone else. Hold them accountable to the expectation you’ve set for them and support them like a grown-up. Treating them like children will eventually annoy them. They will start to defy you and take up drug addiction again.

Don’t try to own their lives

Just because your loved one is in recovery doesn’t mean you have to save them from their mistakes or bad planning all the time. Instead, let them be responsible for their own lives. Let them tackle their recovery on their terms. Moreover, let them feel and be independent.


In the end, giving help and support to someone in recovery is all about putting their needs first. You have to be the support system your loved one requires during recovery. After all, recovery is an involved process, and going on this pathway alone will be difficult for them. That said, intervention from a professional is also required sometimes. So, do the best you can to ensure that your friend, family, or loved one goes through recovery smoothly.