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How to Talk to a Loved One in Recovery

Knowing what to say to a loved one in recovery can be difficult, no matter how close your relationship may be. Supporting your loved one is important, but you also don’t want to overstep your boundaries. Drug and alcohol addiction does not only affect the person struggling with addiction but also the loved ones around them. Feeling angry or resentful toward them is also normal and it is especially difficult to know how to bring up these feelings to them when they are struggling or going through substance abuse treatment.

What to Say to a Loved One in Recovery

You may never know what to say to a loved one in recovery. As time goes by, it may get easier and you will learn better ways to communicate with them. However, here are some general strategies to help you talk to your loved one in addiction recovery:

Ask open-ended questions about their substance abuse treatment. Asking general questions will allow them to answer in little or much detail they feel comfortable with.

I Love You. Guilt and shame related to substance abuse may make them feel they are unworthy of continued love. So remind them they are.

You’re Not Alone. Openly discuss how common addiction is and remind them you know it is a disorder.

Everyone Needs Help Sometimes. It is important to remind them that we all struggle and it is courageous they reached out for help.

How Can I Help? Again, prevents you from overstepping your boundaries and puts them in control of the conversation.

I’m Proud of You. Recognizing their hard work and knowing loved ones recognize the steps they’ve taken can be incredibly encouraging.

What Not to Say

More important than saying the right thing, is avoiding saying the wrong thing. Number one is not set expectations. Let loved ones develop their own addiction recovery goals and do not set expectations of your own from them, because it may set them up to fail. Do not ask questions with too much detail about their worse times, such as what was their rock bottom or what caused them to get into drugs and alcohol in the first place. Also, do not ask about their current situation such as asking why they don’t drink or why they can’t have just one.

Recognizing Signs of Drug Addiction in a Loved One

How Friends and Family Can Support Someone Recovering from Addiction

Here are some ways you can help your loved one in recovery:

Learn more about addiction and educate yourself. Addiction resources can educate you about the disease and how to better support them.

Set boundaries. You do not have to uproot your life to help a loved one in recovery. Taking care of yourself is also important in order to have a healthy relationship with them.

Go to family therapy. Therapy can help you have difficult conversations and help you understand how you can support them rather than enable them as they recover from addiction.

Ask them to hang out. Often those in addiction recovery feel that no one wants to be around them because they are no longer “fun” since they are sober. Plan on doing sober activities with them.

Addiction Treatment and Recovery Support at The Detox Center of Los Angeles

The Detox Center of Los Angeles provides medical detox and drug and alcohol addiction treatment services. Our comprehensive treatment plans offer various forms of addiction therapy including cognitive behavioral therapy, dialectical behavioral therapy, individual therapy, family therapy, and support groups. Our medical detox program includes medication-assisted treatment to help go through drug and alcohol withdrawals safely and comfortably. Part of our recovery program includes relapse prevention which will provide tools and skills for successful addiction recovery on your own.

If you or your loved ones are struggling with addiction, please contact us today to learn more about our recovery program and the admissions process.


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Will my insurance cover treatment for addiction?

The Detox Center of L.A. accepts most major insurance providers and private healthcare policies. We offer free insurance verification as well as eligibility and benefits for both behavioral and mental health treatment services. Please fill out our insurance verification form here to verify your insurance.

What happens in addiction

Effective addiction treatment programs are tailored to each individual. Because of this, it will be a different experience for everyone. However, it generally involves a combination of detoxification, group and individual therapy, educational presentations, and aftercare planning in order to ensure long-term recovery. Upon arrival at The Detox Center of L.A., you can expect our professionally trained staff to create an individualized treatment plan based on your needs and treatment goals.