Being there to support your loved one as they overcoming substance abuse and addiction is vital to their ongoing success in long-term recovery. Rather they say so or not, your support and encouragement means the world. As a supporter, you can help your loved one stay dedicated to their new sober lifestyle by offering encouragement, a shoulder to lean on, and an extra pair of eyes watching out for potential relapse triggers. While you can’t walk this journey for them, knowing what to say and when to say can make all the difference in their recovery journey. Here’s 5 things you should say to your loved one in recovery:
“I’m proud of you.”
People underestimate the value of these words. You may think it’s obvious, but hearing that you acknowledge and support their dedication means the world. It can be discouraging to feel like you’re fighting an uphill battle that no one seems to see. These four simple words can open an avenue for honest communication, giving you a peek into your loved one’s mindset when it comes to their ongoing recovery. Let them know that every forward step of this journey is a small victory, worth being proud of. Hearing those words can help change one’s perspective and boost positivity.
“Do you need my help with anything?”
Often times people in recovery try to walk tall and strong on their own, trying to prove their self-sustainability along their path. Allowing this independence is important, however, so is being available and willing to offer your help when it’s needed. People in recovery may hesitate to reach out for help when needed, worried it may seem weak or afraid to be vulnerable. Open the door by offering your help freely and allowing them to take up your offer as needed. Be cautious, though; allowing your loved one to take advantage of your kindness does nothing to help, but may ultimately hinder their growth and progress.
“You’re doing great.”
In the same vein as ‘I’m proud of you,’ you should acknowledge your loved one for their steady and consistent progress in on-going recovery. Too often we focus on the big milestones and goals that we lose sight of the everyday achievements. Recognizing the first 7 days sober is just as important as the first year or the first decade. Remind your loved one that this is a commitment to lifestyle changes, not a race to a finish line. Each step is just as important as the last and sets up the foundation for the next.
“I admire your dedication.”
Too often people in recovery continue to carry shame about their journey, reluctant to be open about the realities of newly sober life. What they don’t realize is how doing so could enrich the lives of others even beyond those who are walking a path of recovery as well. Strength and perseverance are qualities that branch beyond addiction recovery, and having someone who you can look up to your possessing these qualities helps to encourage others to tap into them as well. Not only is telling your loved one that they are admired flattering and a great confidence booster, it helps to reaffirm accountability mindfulness in their decision making.
“I forgive you.”
Forgiveness is major in moving forward in recovery. Your loved one is likely struggling to come to terms with past actions and find self-forgiveness; you can help make that path a bit easier by offering your forgiveness first. Maybe they won’t ask for it, but lifting that weight from their shoulders helps mend your bond and cement your place as a supporter. Holding on to the wrongs of the past helps no one; your forgiveness can begin an entirely new path of healing for all.