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Tactful Discussion and Addiction Treatment

Understanding Anger in Recovery - The Bergand Group

If you have a loved one who is in recovery or going through addiction treatment, you know how difficult it can be for family and friends.  However, the heaviest burden lies with the patient, and while they undoubtedly appreciate your care, there are lines that should be drawn between being supportive and being invasive.  Make sure to tread carefully when discussing issues of his or her recovery so that you can develop a thorough, but respectful understanding.

Changing the Recovery Conversation

“It can be hard for friends and family to know what words to use, what questions to ask and how best to address people who are working their way out of addiction.”  However, it’s crucial to make an effort to be as tactful as you can so that the person is able to fully appreciate your help in whatever way you offer it.  Begin the conversation after giving a lot of thought to what they may and may not want to hear.

One inadvisable question is “how long have you been sober?”  It may bring them discomfort or unease as there are sometimes incidences of relapse that will be dredged up with this question.  Try to keep things earnest, but superficial in that they won’t seem to be digging too deeply into the other person’s recovery.  “How is it going” can show that you’re interested in their well-being without getting into the details.

Another is “how long do you need to go to meetings?”  The journey of addiction treatment lasts far beyond physically going to any kind of meetings and thus shouldn’t be contained within this one small part of the larger experience.  It also has the implication that activities within the process are punishments rather than positive steps, which is harmful to the person in recovery.  Try an encouraging comment such as “it’s good that you have somewhere to talk about you problems” to paint the steps in a good light and to remind the individual of the benefits of gratitude.

As with mental illness and other issues, saying “I know how you feel” can minimize the other person’s struggles immensely as it’s often not true.  Those who haven’t been through addiction treatment have no real idea of what it’s like and should instead say something along the lines of “I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but I want you to know that I’m here for you.”  This way, you’re not diminishing the difficulties that the other person is facing, but you’re still able to exhibit empathy.

“Can’t you just stop?”  “Could you have just one drink?”  “Are you never going to drink again?”  These questions both oversimplify the concept of addiction and work against the individual in recovery.  It dismisses their desire to work through addictive habits often because the other person is uncomfortable with the fact that the patient “isn’t participating” in the same social activities that they used to enjoy.  Offer congratulations and confidence in the place of these careless comments, noting the good that’s come from addiction treatment and encouraging them throughout the rest of recovery.

Be there for your loved ones who are working through recovery, but make a conscious effort to do so respectfully and with tactful understanding of how far they’ve come and the trials they’ve faced.  For more information on how to support those in addiction treatment in Harford County, get in touch with The Bergand Group. The Bergand Group is Maryland’s leading addiction recovery center, and offers support for those struggling with addiction and mental health issues.

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About The Bergand Group:

At The Bergand Group in Baltimore and Harford County, Maryland, our therapists have more than twenty years of experience in the mental health and addiction fields. Our focus is on providing comprehensive mental health care and appropriate care for addictive disorders. We offer both alcohol rehabilitation and drug rehabilitation. If you or someone you know is struggling with alcohol or substance addiction, there is help available. We also offer several other services, including family therapy and counseling. We can help. Contact us today.[/fusion_builder_column][/fusion_builder_row][/fusion_builder_container]

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