What Not to Say to Someone in Recovery

It is quite common for loved ones to feel the need to provide support during the recovery process. While many inquiries and remarks are helpful, others might harm the rehabilitation process. Although you are concerned for that person, you should avoid questions that may reopen an injury that is still healing.

#1 ‘I Know How You Feel.’

There is no way to truly understand the individual’s struggle unless you have dealt with addiction yourself. Although you may want to express empathy for the person, saying something like, “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I’m here for you and I’ll help in any way I can” is more beneficial.

#2 ‘How Long Have You Been Sober?’

This seemingly innocent question might lead to feelings of inadequacy and guilt. Recovery is hard work and relapses are common. Recalling these relapses can trigger negative emotions. “How are you?” is fine. This ambiguity allows the person to choose how much or how little to say.

#3 ‘Joe Is in Recovery, Too.’

Addiction and recovery are frequently private issues, and being the focus of rumors can be unsettling for anyone in recovery. Always respect people’s privacy and allow them to speak about their addiction, recovery, or associated difficulties if and when they choose.

#4 ‘Can’t You Have Just One (Drink/Hit)?’

The possibility that they are in control enough to enjoy just one lapse is a constant threat that can lead to relapse. It is preferable to simply say, “I believe you can do this,” as a gesture of support, and give them time to work through the complex challenges that come with addiction and recovery.

#5 ‘Why Did You Get Into That Stuff?’

The reasons behind someone’s addiction might be complicated and delicate. Asking for such personal information just adds to the stress of the individual who is attempting to avoid baring his or her soul or diving into topics they may not completely comprehend. The whys and wherefores are not important at this stage.

#6 ‘I Never Thought You Had a Problem.’

Addiction is all about hiding the problem from others. There are many evasions, deceptions, and blatant lies they told to hide their addiction. “I am proud of you” typically suffices to convey your concern and support for the person’s sobriety. They will likely share more as they feel comfortable doing so. Meanwhile, do not assume their demand for privacy indicates a fractured or unpleasant relationship.

Recovering from drug or alcohol abuse is a deeply emotional experience. A person often struggles with different feelings, from accomplishment to fear. A person on their path to recovery is vulnerable to what is said by their loved ones. With the support and guidance of professionals at Avalon Malibu, you can achieve your goal of sobriety. Call Avalon Malibu at (844) 857-5992.

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