How to Support a Loved One in Recovery

Recovering from an addiction is an incredibly challenging process. Watching a loved one struggle with recovering from drugs or alcohol is heart-wrenching for a family member and they often wonder how they can help. It’s important for friends and family members to realize they cannot go through the recovery process for their loved one and that they cannot make their loved one quit destructive behavior. However, there are a few things they can do to support their loved one through this difficult time. If you have a loved one going through recovery, here is what you can do to help.

Learn More About the Recovery Process

Learning as much as you can about the recovery process helps you provide appropriate support. When you know what symptoms your loved one is experiencing, signs of relapse, and specific triggers you can help them avoid, you can better support them on their path to recovery. Read everything you can about recovery and consider talking with a recovery specialist or attending a support group like Al-Anon.

Express an Interest in Helping

It may seem obvious to you that you’re there to help your loved one however you can, but they may not see it that way. Make sure you tell them that you are there for them and that you want to support them in this difficult process. Sometimes all they need is for you to extend a helping hand to accept your support and ease their path to recovery.


Lecturing a loved one or telling them what they should do is not helpful and will likely cause your loved one to pull away. In many situations, your loved one in recovery simply wants someone to listen to them. They may want to talk about the challenges they are experiencing or their fears about recovery. Other times, they may want to talk about anything other than the recovery process. The important thing is to be there to listen compassionately.

Create a Supportive Environment

Whether they live with you or not, creating a supportive environment where they can come for help and support is imperative in helping your loved one. Part of this includes taking care of yourself so that you have the strength and energy to help them when they need it. It’s also important to remove triggers from your home that could lead to a relapse. Setting appropriate boundaries with your loved one will also help both of you navigate the recovery process successfully.

It’s never easy watching a loved one go through a difficult time, and the recovery process can be one of the most difficult times in any person’s life. By supporting them with a loving environment, lack of judgment, and educating yourself, you can help ease their path and regain their life. If you have questions about recovery or would like to better understand how addiction can lead to homelessness, please visit our website.