Active support from family and friends is essential when it comes to helping a recovering drug addict kick the habit.
While it is true that family members play a huge role in the process of rehabilitation, there are many things you can do as a friend to provide support.
Supporting a friend in recovery can be hard, and we understand you might be unsure of what exactly you can and should do to support your friend. That’s why we came up with this simple guideline on how you can support a friend recovering from drug addiction.
Let your friend know that you want to help.
Sometimes the person in recovery may be embarrassed to ask for aid, so letting them know you are there for them would be an important first step. Both of you can then discuss how to move forward in staying sober.
Research has shown that when it comes to lending a helping hand, it could be as simple as informing your friend of his rehab appointments, following him for check-ups or engaging in healthy activities such as sports.
Understand that you cannot be in control of your friend’s life.
When a person in recovery is attempting to put pieces of his life back together, do not insist on doing certain things for them.
As a friend wanting to help, it can be tempting to do chores for your friend, even chores that he could, and should, be doing himself. However, you must understand that doing so doesn’t help him, and might even harm him in the long run. Instead, you can guide him along the way.
For instance, if he is looking for a new job, don’t do the work for him. Let him apply for the job himself. Eventually, your friend needs to slowly but steadily adjust to life without drugs and learn how to cope with stress without resorting to substance abuse.
Let your friend be part of your life as well
Every conversation with your friend does not need to be about him only. Share with him your own concerns, and things that annoy you. It doesn’t have to be huge emotional problems, but telling him about little things, like the annoying taxi uncle this morning, or your newest mobile game discovery, can really help to build the relationship.
By giving your friend the chance to be there for you, you can help him become stronger, keeping him away from a possible relapse.
If you want to be in a better position in helping your friend stay sober, take time to read up on drug recovery. Read up on the possible signs of relapse and the different types of struggles a recovering addict may face.
Know that everything will not change immediately, and the journey to recovery for a drug addict is a long and difficult process. As a friend who has decided to be there for them along the way, be patient and nurturing. In the process, however, do not forget to take care of yourself too. Remember that you need to be emotionally and physically fit to be there for a friend who needs you.
Above all, remember that if you strip away the labels and addiction issues, this person is ultimately your friend. As long as you treat him as you would treat a dear friend, you can’t possibly do much wrong.
This article was written by Kamini D. and edited by Wei Xuan.