Best Practices to Support a Loved One in Recovery

loved one

The path of recovery can be incredibly bewildering and yet undeniably fulfilling. Our process is always changing, showing us what we need to see to grow. It also propels us into the crux of what it means to become truly alive. To be alive is often a beautiful and yet a heart-breaking experience as it means we are awake and aware of everything that life throws at us; all of the beauty, pain, reasons we wake up, and all of the reasons we sometimes cry ourselves to sleep.

While being awake in life is a gift and worth it, this does not mean that it will not come without its share of challenges. Sometimes shame, guilt, confusion, anger, and doubt can control life quality before seeking help and recovery. Such thoughts can linger, creating self-deprecating belief systems, and it can become confusing to practice humility and grace on the road to recovery. Watching a loved one struggle to find balance can be difficult, too. However, there are effective ways to help support a loved one and keep them walking the recovery path.

Why Support Systems Are Important

Having a healthy support system is a crucial part of the recovery process and life. Likewise, supporting someone takes being able to reserve judgment and evaluate things from their perspective. Working and moving together on this journey can be an enriching experience that can strengthen bonds and self-confidence. Whether the person close to us is a friend, family member, or peer from our support groups, support helps each with their coping skills, well-being, and maintaining overall healthier lifestyles.

Understanding Addiction as a Disease

Sometimes watching a loved one struggle can feel dumbfounding. The actions that produce harmful consequences seem apparent and detrimental. However, it is not so evident for the person struggling. Taking time to understand that addiction is a disease begins to shift the perception of addiction from being a selfish and impulsive act to being a medical condition that needs treatment, not unlike any other disease or disorder. 

At Avalon Malibu, we are more than happy to help answer any questions, misconceptions, or stigmas surrounding addiction. A deeper understanding of the disease will help bring awareness to the challenges and triumphs of recovery. By becoming educated, it will also become easier to spot the signs of relapse and, therefore, could enact both parties to develop a more substantial relapse prevention plan. Taking these measures is paramount to helping a loved one remain sober.

Set Healthy Boundaries

One of the earliest steps in supporting a loved one is understanding the difference between support and enabling. While it might seem like a good idea to help a loved one by having them live at the house, or pay for their bills and groceries, understand that this behavior can cause your loved one to become dependent. When a loved one becomes dependent on us, they may not see a reason to seek help for addiction — their lives are being taken care of for them. Therefore, they cannot grow into themselves as an independent human being. 

Setting boundaries will help make it clear as to what will be accepted and what will not. The idea is to create boundaries that make this person more self-sufficient and confident with their individual choices. It is always good to offer unwavering love, but not money or housing. It is essential to follow through with the boundaries set. For example, if a loved one makes a mistake, such as getting a DUI, there will be no support for bail. However, hard and seemingly harsh, upholding boundaries creates a relationship where there is balance and not manipulation.

Practice Honesty 

If ever there is concerning behavior to suspect drug use or relapse, this is cause to say something. Approaching these subjects with honesty and being straightforward helps those struggling understand the severity of the problem. It might be common to hear excuses to justify their behavior, but hear them out. Avoid confrontation. Sometimes silence can encourage and enlighten the loved one’s denial or secrecy. Additionally, a space designated for communication might help alleviate the frustrations and stresses that could derail a meaningful conversation. Such an area could offer both parties safety and comfort to express their feelings from a place of love and support.

Engage in Self-Care

Helping others manage their addiction can create distractions that deny us the attention we need to pay ourselves. Our health and wellbeing should be a priority too. Taking time to consult a therapist, counselor, or home practices such as yoga and exercise should aim to soothe and relax. It is also important to implement healthy nutrition and consistent sleeping patterns. Such care will help establish coping mechanisms from within after meeting the intense demands of a loved one. When all parties mind their health and peace, it makes for a healthier and more peaceful relationship.


No matter the level of support on the road to recovery, it is crucial to discuss what support means to each person. It is about setting boundaries and educating each other on the needs and priorities within the relationship. Watching a loved one struggle is challenging. However, with open communication and the willingness to listen and educate each other, the relationship and recovery can flourish. If ever there is any doubt, it may be time to seek professional help. At Avalon Malibu, we offer counseling and therapy for family, friends, and loved ones struggling with addiction. Our environment provides safety and security for each party. Avalon Malibu’s goal is to strengthen the bonds of support systems in recovery because reliable support is essential to sustaining long-term sobriety. Remember, recovery always comes first. To learn more, and become proactive about getting a loved one help, reach out to Avalon Malibu today by calling us at (844) 857-5992. 

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