As a friend or family member of someone in recovery, we always do our best to be there for our loved one. Sometimes this can be a challenge, and we find ourselves at a loss of what to do to support them. A quote often said in recovery is, “the opposite of addiction is connection”. This small saying holds an important truth. The most impactful thing to recovery of any kind, is knowing you are not alone in the battle. Everyone’s journey looks a little different, and each individual has a specific set of needs, but everyone needs a support system that they can rely on for comfort and love. Sometimes, the smallest gestures can make the biggest difference.
Here are 6 small ways to support your loved one on their journey to recovery on an everyday basis.
1. Celebrate milestones and progress
Milestones are great motivators for people in recovery from addiction and mental health. When your loved one reaches a new sobriety milestone, accomplishes a new goal, or overcomes a barrier in their recovery journey, it is important to show them they are seen. Telling your loved one that you are proud of them and acknowledging how hard they’ve worked to get to where they are can encourage them to keep going. Milestones are a big deal! It marks one step closer to the life they are building for themselves.
2. Surprise them with gifts
faith FACtORY offers a fun variety of small gifts to surprise your loved one with. Whether it be to celebrate a milestone, to uplift them when they are riding the ebbs and flows of life, or provide them with a motivational tool, we’ve got you covered. Our shop offers something for everyone, from stickers and stationery, jewelry and milestone coins/tokens/chips, candy and chocolates, and so much more. We even have a customizable gift basket option that you can cater to the likes of the person you are shopping for. Check out the links at the bottom of this post for some inspiration.
3. Ask them how you can help
The simple question, “how can I be there for you today?” can go a long way. Sometimes we can’t know what someone needs in the moment, and asking for them to show you can be the best way to offer them your support. Maybe they need someone to vent to. Maybe they need someone to offer them advice. Maybe they are needing help finding resources. Maybe they just need someone to be with them while they feel what they’re feeling. Or maybe they just need a hug! How would we know if we didn’t ask? We aren’t mind readers! The best way to give someone what they need is to ask them what they’re looking for.
4. Foster open and honest communication
Being vulnerable is a tough and scary thing for a lot of people. We need to know we are safe to share what we are thinking and feeling in order to feel free to be honest. Telling your loved one that you are there for them no matter what and will never judge them can mean the world. When things get tough, we all need a safe person to go to. This is especially true for someone in recovery. Their world can feel so small as they work on changing the people, places, and things in their lives. Being a consistent and reliable person they can go to will bring them peace and security during dark times.
5. Try to understand their experience from their perspective.
It can be hard to be there for someone when we don’t understand what’s truly going on. Educating yourself on addiction and other diagnoses can help you gain perspective to what they think and feel, and how that leads to their actions and reactions. Try putting yourself in their shoes, how hard it must be to uproot yourself from all you know and rebuild yourself from the ground up. What a daunting task, and at the same time such a beautiful journey. To the person going through it, it can be easy to focus on only the negatives. Try to remind them of all the positive things that they have worked so hard to create for themselves, and all the progress they have made. A simple shift in perspective can change everything!
6. Join forums for friends and families to help YOURSELF!
Taking care of yourself is just as important as taking care of others. How can we be there for our people if we aren’t there for ourselves? Having a friend or family member in recovery can bring a lot of hurt and fear into our lives, because we care so deeply for them and hate to see them in pain. Staying connected with other families or groups such as AL-ANON and our blog here at faith FACtORY can give you the support you need while you navigate the challenges of having a loved one in recovery. Just as we need to remind our friends and family in recovery that they are not alone, we need that reminder just as much. You matter too! We all have our struggles, and addiction/mental health challenges affect everyone involved in different ways. We need a safe space to vent about our feelings, and to ask for advice on how to navigate certain situations. We need reassurance that we are doing the right thing, and encouragement when things get tough. We have to stay strong for ourselves, so we can be strong for the people we love. We are all in this together!