Sometimes it’s hard to know what to say to a friend who has been struggling with an addiction of some kind. It can feel like no matter what you do or what you say it won’t be enough, or could even make the person feel worse than they likely already do. The most important thing to remember however, in spite of how difficult it can be, is to say something. Saying nothing at all is so much worse. Shame is at the heart of any person struggling from an addiction to drugs or alcohol, even gambling addiction, and anyway you cut it, staying silent or avoiding your friend will feed the shame they are already feeling. Speak up. Let them know you are still around. If you don’t know what to say, here are some ideas to guide you while you try to support and encourage your friend or your loved one, whether vocally or in action.
What To Say
- “I’m so glad you’re home” The first step to being there for a friend who has been in a drug and alcohol detox and rehab center program for an addiction is to let them know that you thought about them while they were away, and that you are so glad to see them again. It can feel lonely for someone struggling with addiction to go back home. Sometimes people feel embarrassed, or ashamed that they had to seek treatment in the first place. Letting them know that you care about them just as much now as you did before they left, and before you were aware they were struggling with an addiction can mean everything to them.
- “I’m proud of you.” For someone to even admit that they are struggling with any kind of addiction is a heroic feat unto itself. But going even further by seeking help for that addiction is a step that so many people struggling with addiction never take. It can be scary and it can feel hopeless when you struggle with addiction. The shame inside, the strength of chemical dependence often feel impossible to overcome. Even further, going through medically supervised alcohol detox or drug detox, and then rehab are incredibly difficult steps for anyone to go through. If your friend or someone you love just got through going to addiction treatment, detox and rehab, let them know that you are proud of them. Let them know that you know how brave they had to be to take that step.
- “I’m here to talk if you need to talk to someone.” When a person is seeking help for a chemical dependence or any kind of addiction it is so vital that they have a strong support system who can listen to them when they are having second thoughts, or when they are deep in a shame spiral. As an addict it is easy to believe that anyone you tell about it will mock you, be disgusted by your problems or be completely disappointed by your “bad choices” or mistakes. Show them that this isn’t the case. That you want to sit with them through the good and the bad. If you can be there for them as an ear to listen or shoulder to cry on it is a huge relief to the person and may even make it easier for them to remain sober after treatment. Just knowing that they have people behind them, pulling for them, ready to listen when they need it can keep them on the road to recovery.
- “I’ll always have your back.” One of the most important things a person struggling with addiction needs is a consistent and trustworthy friend. Something that is invaluable in anyone’s life is a friend who offers up unconditional friendship, love and genuine care. If your friend needs anything right now it is to just know everyone isn’t going to abandon them. If the person you are trying to support is someone very close to you, remind them of how important they are to you, and how much you care about them. They will be put at ease knowing they have someone in their corner.
- “I’m in awe of your bravery.” Going through drug or alcohol detox and rehab requires great amounts of bravery and and determination. Remind your friend or loved one who is struggling with addiction that you can imagine just how vulnerable they had to allow themselves be to admit their struggle and get the kind of in depth help that they got going to an addiction recovery center. Florida treatment programs include many different kinds of therapy and medical programs that can do so much for someone suffering from addiction. They can help them get back on their feet and reenter the world in active recovery, ready to do the hard work of maintaining their sobriety. This sort of treatment can really bolster a person’s resolve for a new way of living. However, having a friend or loved one acknowledge this kind of bravery can lend itself to even more bravery when the time comes, when the person struggling with the addiction feels triggers and cravings.
- “Please remember to be as kind to yourself as you are to me.” Remind your friend or loved one who is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction of any of the acts of kindness, compassion, and grace that they have offered to you in the past. Remind them your friend or loved one that you appreciate how they have been there for you, and that everyone goes through difficult times and that one of the most important things they can do is treat themselves the way they would treat you if you were in the same situation. The shame that comes with this disease of addiction can corner people with a feeling of worthlessness. Remind them that they see your worth and you see yours. This is what friendship and love is about. Tell them that when they forget why they are important to remember that you care about them and to try to see themselves the way you see them.
- “Remember to take care of yourself.” Sometimes someone who is struggling with addiction to drugs or alcohol forgets that it is still important to focus on self care even though they are back in the real world after medical detox and rehab at a treatment facility. It’s hard to come back to your everyday life after you’ve been away at rehab. It’s a bubble of support and healthy instruction. When someone leaves that safety net it can be difficult to remember how to care for themselves, or it can feel so daunting that a person becomes too overwhelmed by coming back that they stop doing even the basic of self care like focusing on good hygiene, a healthy diet, and exercise. Remind your friend, gently, that you care about them and to not forget to make themselves the priority.
- “I love you and I’m so grateful you got help.” One of the most difficult thing as a human is to admit when we are wrong. Even harder is taking the difficult steps to admit that we are struggling with something like an addiction to drugs or alcohol and need help, desperately, and that we can’t go on without it. That’s the kind of thing it takes to get help from addiction, but go one step further. It takes an incomprehensible amount of strength and courage to admit that you need help for something that society says is selfish and the result of your own choices. The debilitating stigma that comes with an addiction can be almost impossible to work past. Let your friend or loved one know that you understand that addiction is the result of more than just their choices. Let them know that you don’t buy what society is selling as far as the way it approaches addiction and those suffering from the disease. That you know they are dealing with a diagnosis not their own delinquency. Let them know that you are so glad they got help.
What To Do
- “Do you want to get coffee sometime?” Invite your friend out to talk and laugh. Don’t forget that even though they are dealing with addiction and just got back from an alcohol detox facility, they may want a break from talking and thinking about their addiction. Let them know that you love them and that you’re glad to have them back, but let them decide if they want to talk about it. As they lead the discussion, feel free to engage on whatever topic they feel comfortable talking about. It is also totally fine to ask straight up what they feel comfortable with. They would likely appreciate the candor and the thoughtfulness of the gesture.
- “Some friends and I are going out to dinner, want to come?” is the kind of thing that someone who is suffering from addiction – either before or after they receive treatment desperately needs to hear. Invite your friend who is struggling with addiction out. When you do so, don’t forget to invite them out for group functions too. This will give them a sense of community that they so desperately need, and it will also remind them that your group of friends hasn’t abandoned them. That you all care about them. Invite them to outings that are not centered around addictive substances or gambling. Your friend just got back from rehab. Don’t forget that that their hard work isn’t over. Going rehab for drug and alcohol addiction recovery doesn’t cure you, it gets you on the right path, but your loved one will have to continue to make the choice every single day to remain sober. Don’t make it harder for them even as you try to ease the burden
- “Can I help by watching your kids sometime?” If your friend or loved one struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol has children, consider offering to babysit sometime. It’s very difficult to find time to yourself when you have kids, especially young ones, and a person who is just home from treatment may need some time to get out and take a run, go to the gym, read a book, or do some other kind of self care. Offering to take their kids to the zoo, or out for a meal, so they can take some time for just themselves will do so much good for them..
- “Would you like to take a walk or get out for a hike some time?” Getting out into nature and moving your bodies is not only great for your wellbeing as well as theirs but it is a great way to hang out. Much better for your body than getting ice cream or food. First of all, moving your body is a great way for your friend or loved one to deal with anxiety or depression, both of which may come more easily than they wish after treatment, but it will help you in the same way. Besides, serenity is easily found in a beautiful mountain or vista of any kind.
- “I made a music playlist for you!” If you’re looking for a way to make your friend feel genuinely loved and cared for, make a present for them. Nothing makes someone feel more special than an unexpected and thoughtful gift. A music playlist is free, so you don’t have to worry about paying for the gift. It does take some time and personal knowledge of their music taste and the struggles they are experiencing. Knowing that someone is thinking of them and caring for them even when they are around could make a huge difference in your friend’s mental health. It means so much to anyone when a friend or loved one goes out of there way to make them feel cared for, but for someone coming back from alcohol or drug detox and rehab, or someone just starting on their treatment and recovery journey, this small token of care can mean a boost of motivation and resolve. It’s much easier to seek treatment, and fight triggers and cravings when they are not around. These days there are a ton of different streaming services that you can make the playlist on and share the link with your friend. As you make the compilation, think about your friend. Think about their personality and the music they love. Think about their struggle and their successes. What they need most right now is to be seen through a lens of compassion and love.
- “Can I make some meals for you to stock your freezer with?” It may seem very small town, or like the sort of thing you do for a family welcoming a new baby into their home, not a person who is recovering from drug or alcohol addiction, but checking to see if you can help your friend or loved one with meals after they’ve returned from recovery treatment can be a huge relief for them. As stated above, getting back from recovery or even being at the start of their recovery journey can be extremely overwhelming for a person struggling with addiction. See if your friend would let you make some freezer meals to make it easy for them to get started back into their everyday lives. Something so easy as being able to just heat up a meal instead of scrambling for shopping and preparing the meal, can do everything for morale when night falls and you’re exhausted from a full day. This is especially useful for those who have a family. Anything you can do to remove stress from an addicts every day life will be a huge offer of love to them.
Finding Treatment In Florida For Drug or Alcohol Addiction
Don’t forget, whatever you say to your friend, do it in love and with compassion. If you approach your friend with honesty and vulnerability of your own, reconnecting with them should be a genuinely rewarding experience, just a good talk with your friend or loved one.
If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction in the Florida area, talk with them about helping them to seek out the best drug rehab for them. FHE Health offers a variety of different treatment options. Here, we believe that each person struggling with drug or alcohol addiction deserves a personalized treatment. We consider the specific needs and lifestyle of the patient coming in to treatment. This also includes any kind of co-occurring mental health disorders the person may suffer from, any trauma they have experienced in the past, among other variables that may be relevant to the person’s treatment. Call today to learn more about our programs.