Especially if they just left rehab and you are seeing them for the first time, you may not know what to say or how to act around them. Should you bring it up at all or just brush it under the rug?
You are not alone. As providers of therapy for family members of addicts in Illinois, we know that many family members struggle with their loved one’s addiction and are unsure of how they fit in with their loved one’s recovery journey. Because of the confusion, we are sharing some ideas about what to say to someone in recovery that you love.
There are plenty of things to say to someone in recovery, but not all of them are right or helpful. Instead of accidentally putting your foot in your mouth, here are some good ideas about what to say to someone who is newly sober.
It can be difficult for someone to admit that they have a problem, let alone to go get help. If your loved one just got out of a meth rehab program, chances are they went through horrible withdrawal symptoms, experienced intense mood swings, and struggled with getting their life back on track. Make sure you applaud them for their progress. Commending them for getting help will reinforce why they chose to get sober in the first place and encourage them to stay on this path.
Along with praising the progress they already made, you should also give them encouraging words for the future. Let them know that you believe in them. It will give them a boost of self-confidence to know that other people think they can stay sober as well.
Avoid asking pointed questions about their recovery. Instead, a vague question about how they are doing is better. They can choose to answer you with as much detail about their recovery as they like or answer you with nothing regarding their recovery. You may discover that they are struggling and could need your help, or you may learn about something new going on in their life that they are excited about.
Early recovery can be difficult, and many people struggle during this time. Especially if your loved one went through a co-occurring disorder program, they also struggle with their mental health. Tell your loved one that you are there for them if they need it and would like to help in whatever way you can. They may not take you up for it right away, but they might accept your help down the line.
Knowing what to say to someone in recovery doesn’t have to be as hard as it may seem. Remember to be supportive and stay positive. They are still the same person you know and love.