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Recovery Conversation to Show Support

Conversation with Someone in Recovery - the Bergand Group

If a friend, family member, or someone else that you care about is going through recovery, it may be difficult to know what to do or say.  You may worry that the ‘wrong thing’ will create more tension and stress for both of you and, as a result, sometimes it may seem easier to do or say nothing at all.  Unfortunately, this, too, can complicate the situation by creating a kind of divide between you and the other person.  So, how best do you go about communicating with someone in recovery from substance abuse?

The Impacts of Words on Someone in Recovery

Though  it “can feel safer to do nothing and avoid messy feelings or uncomfortable communication,” your efforts can mean more than you might ever know if you try and reach out to the person in recovery.  If you offer silence instead of support, the other person may believe that you aren’t willing to help, that you are afraid or upset with them.  Don’t allow a miscommunication to create rifts; with a careful approach, you can make all the difference for a patient in recovery.

When you have something on your mind that you want to share with others, particularly if it’s bothering you, would you want someone to interrupt with their own experience or something else before you finish explaining?  Of course not!  It’s the same for the person in recovery; what they really want and need is for someone to listen to them, but not necessarily to talk.  There aren’t always solutions, and it may help more than you realize to have a willing ear for when talking something through can give them a sense of peace.  It may not seem like much to you if you’re “only” sitting and listening, but the other person will appreciate the care that you show by expending the effort.

If you think they may want you to talk, after all, or if you feel comfortable enough, it’s okay to engage in conversation.  However, “refrain from giving advice, making judgments, or asking them to live up to your expectations for what you think their recovery should look like.”  If you are trying to foster an environment of comfort (and you should be), then the last thing you want to do is to be critical.  Giving advice is one thing, but you may not know all of the facts, and if you share expectations that you have, it can be a huge discouragement.  Even if it makes you feel a little better to state a “plan of action,” or helpful next steps in their journey, it may no have a similar, or even positive effect on the person in recovery.  Consider their feelings and apprehensions and put them before your own when in a conversation to make the experience as painless as possible.

One of the most important things to remember is that you want to prove to be a confidante, a solid foundation, and not more like an advice column.  You may have preconceived notions of what “recovery” looks like, but odds are that it’s far from the truth unless you’ve been through rehabilitation, yourself.  Put your loved one and their well-being first in this scenario; they are likely experiencing a lot of turbulent times at the moment and the last thing you want to do is add to the struggle.  Rather, try to be a pillar of support, an open-minded pillar of support who is there when they need it.

There are a number of nuances that come into play with having a conversation with someone in recovery.  There may not be a one-size-fits-all plan, but applying a healthy sense of tact, delicacy, and respect is the best way to begin.  For more information about the best ways to help someone in recovery, 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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