Telling Loved Ones What Helps (And What Hurts) 

loved ones

Addiction recovery is certainly tough on you – but it’s no walk in the park for loved ones either. In fact, it can be hard (and even downright impossible) sometimes to know what to do or say to help. One way you can help yourself and your family and friends is to communicate your needs. In other words, don’t be afraid to be vocal about what you need them to say or do (or not say or do) when you’re having a particularly hard day or trying your best to fend off a craving.

To get you started, here are some ideas adapted from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Read the list and then make your own. You may even consider asking your recovery peers and addiction professionals for some do’s and don’ts that have worked for them. Just remember: The more honest and specific you are with your loved ones, the better they’ll be able to support you and your recovery.

What You Can Do to Help Me…

  • Listen without judgment, advice or criticism.
  • Sit next to me and hold me firmly.
  • Let me walk around or pace.
  • Encourage me to exercise or exercise with me.
  • Guide me through a breathing exercise or meditate with me.
  • Offer me supplies like paints and crayons to express my emotions creatively.
  • Cook me a healthful meal.
  • Cue up my favorite funny movie or YouTube clip.
  • Give me a little time and space and let me come around.
  • Play music that makes me happy or relaxes me.
  • Reassure me that I’m doing the right thing.
  • Peer counsel with me.
  • Don’t talk to me (or do talk to me).

What I Don’t Need You to Do for Me…

  • Lose your patience or force me to do anything.
  • Judge, criticize or scold me.
  • Talk at me or down to me.
  • Take away my coffee or cigarettes.
  • Cover up for me or try to do my recovery work.

Family Counseling at 10 Acre Ranch
Our Southern California rehab for men is built around a social treatment model that helps residents hone in on healthy interaction patterns. Developing greater trust and better communication skills with your family can be critical to your long-term sobriety. To learn more about our family therapy sessions, call us today: 877-228-4679.