It’s not always easy to know what to say to encourage a recovering addict. Although most will appreciate your effort, there are some things that can make someone in recovery feel like they can’t relate. In order to be a more helpful advisor, friend or confidant, here are the 5 most encouraging things you can say to an addict to help him or her feel truly appreciated.
1. “I think the world of you and am so grateful you are in my life.”
This simple statement goes a long way as those who are in recovery need such unconditional love in their lives. After all, they’ve likely been down a rough road and have beat themselves up hundreds of times over past choices. Letting them know that you think highly of them and that you are grateful for them will pull their spirits all the way up.
2. “Feel free to talk to me about anything you need to talk about. I’m here.”
We all need someone trustworthy to talk to once in a while. Someone in recovery is no different. Let your loved ones know that they can freely talk to you about their feelings, recovery, fears, successes or whatever else they wish to. Tell them that regardless of what they want to get off their chest, you will be there to listen intently. This puts the ball in their court and gives them the freedom to share with you, should they so desire.
3. “I’m so proud of you.”
Whether it’s going to meetings, seeing a counselor or educating themselves about recovery, your loved ones work hard to try to stay sober and clean. Let them know regularly that you are proud of them for taking full responsibility for their life. Let them know that you are rooting for them and are glad to be enjoying this new, addiction-free chapter in life with them.
4. “Tell me more.”
Listening skills are quite valuable when it comes to being supportive to those in recovery. As you are there for your loved one, be sure to let them communicate openly with you. When the conversation seems to come to a halt, say, “Tell me more.” This way, you come across as interested and open. Remember that you don’t always have to respond with some grand advice. Sometimes, all you need to do is lend an ear and let your loved one share.
5. “I love seeing you in such good spirits.”
When you see your loved one happy and feeling positive, acknowledge it and tell them this. It makes them realize how far they’ve come and that their hard work is paying off. Now, they are learning that true happiness doesn’t come from an external substance but, rather, from the inside.
By showing insightful encouragement and unconditional love, you can be a recovering addict’s cheerleader. While a newly recovering addict may be sensitive to comments about the need for professional counseling or 12-step programs, remember to still affirm their decision to make changes in the right direction. As they take control of their life and begin to take the necessary steps to becoming sober, you may help inspire them to keep their positive forward momentum going.