How Do You Support Someone in Recovery?

A person who has decided to obtain help for his or her addiction is on the road to recovery. This individual has been brave enough to take the first step and admit that a problem exists. Now, your next task is to act as a supportive individual through this journey.


When you are close to a person who has or is suffering from an addiction, a chance exists that this individual has hurt you, and the hurt may have even be quite deeply. Before you can fully support the individual in recovery, you need to make the decision to forgive. Without forgiveness, giving your full support for recovery is going to be challenging, if not impossible. Forgiving does not mean that you need to forget about all of the pain that has been caused, leaving yourself open to immense hurt in the future, but it does mean that you need to start face the facts and deal with them accordingly.

Let the Person Talk

During recovery, your loved one is going to be attending an inpatient or outpatient program where he or she will receive professional assistance to help him or her recover from an addiction. As a supportive role, you can be available when your friend or family member is likely looking to just talk through some issues; he or she may feel insecure about being judged or pressured to make yet another decision. You are not required to step in as a professional, but as a supportive friend or family member, you can help your loved one stay on track and be aware of signs of relapse.

Remember Who the Person Is

In the recent past, the image of this individual might be tainted by his or her struggle with alcohol or drugs; try to remember that this person is more than just an addict, drug abuser, or alcoholic; he or she is the person you have always known and loved. You and the individual may be singers, artists, mothers, chefs, movie-aficionados or avid travelers. Don’t always feel that you need to talk about the addiction or how the road to recovery is going; ask questions about his new art project or talk about some movies that you know she loves or reminisce about the hiking trails you’ve conquered. A person with a drug or alcohol addiction is still a person, in or out of recovery.

Don’t Mock the Treatment

Sometimes, your family member or friend might think that some of the treatment practices are silly or ineffective because it’s so new. The person might simply express their discomfort to you, or he or she might mock the facility, a therapist or a particular practice. Of course, you want to have fun and lighten the mood, but you always want to be alert to the needs of your loved one. In joining in the mockery, you may be unintentionally agreeing with your loved one that the recovery program is foolish, permitting thoughts of quitting recovery treatment.

Maintain Contact

When your loved one goes to the treatment facility, particularly if it is an in-patient establishment, he or she is likely to feel isolated at times. You don’t want this person to feel lonely, so be sure that you maintain contact with the individual, letting him or her know that he or she is not going through recovery alone. Find out what the facility allows, for example, you might be able to visit the person at the location, and if you are allowed to do so, make it a priority. In other settings, you may be limited to phone calls or computer conversations. Whatever the case may be, one way to stay close is to make sure that you are maintaining regular contact with the individual, like you have always done, or maybe more now than before.

Supporting someone in recovery is challenging, especially if you are very close to the individual and/or you have been very hurt by the person. However, when you keep these tips in mind, you can act as an incredibly valuable support system for your loved one.

Recovering Addict: Returning to Work After Rehab

One of the biggest steps that most people take once they have left rehab and started to rebuild their normal routine is either returning to a previous workplace or starting fresh with a new job. Getting back to work is one of the best ways to work towards a long-term recovery from addiction, as it provides a daily structure and purpose moving forward. With the economic difficulties in recent years, it has been much more difficult for recovering addicts to make this crucial step after rehab. However, this should not discourage those who are about to leave rehab from making their best effort to rejoin the workforce and regain this sense of normalcy.

Returning to an Old Position After Rehab

Coming back to the same job as before going to rehab can offer excellent opportunities as well as a unique set of challenges. On the one hand, it may be difficult to re-integrate with coworkers after returning. Particularly, if an addiction affected work performance, it may take time to build up a comfortable working relationship with skeptical coworkers. Return-to-work agreements following a return from rehab can present new difficulties, such as drug testing or additional monitoring.

Additionally, gossiping coworkers can mean having a difficult work environment for recovering addicts. However, returning to an old position is also an excellent opportunity to prove oneself following a stint in rehab. Channeling energy into this position with a renewed, healthy focus will help to ward off the risk of a relapse. Complementary to this point is the importance of still maintaining a work-life balance; some returning addicts trend towards being workaholics, so it is important to still make time for leisure activities, eat healthily and get plenty of sleep. Those who return to a position following rehab with a renewed sense of purpose may find themselves more productive at work than ever before.

Exploring the Job Market as a Recovering Addict

Many recovering addicts find themselves looking for new positions following their time in rehab, particularly if their addiction had a negative impact on employment, previously. Some worry that their previous work issues or gaps in resumes due to time in rehab will be particularly damaging to their job hunt. While these are certainly tricky hurdles, it is not impossible to find a job for recovering addicts.

After re-entering the job market, applicants must be especially dedicated to their cover letters and the networking process in order to be more appealing than other applicants. A job search, much like an exit from rehab, is a fresh start. Rather than feel haunted by previous work issues, recovering addicts can view their search as a way to make amends with the past and move forward. On the plus side, some jobs and supervisors are particularly sensitive to those who are overcoming an addiction and will be sympathetic to applicants who have just left rehab. New job applicants may want to work with treatment professionals to help make connections with these individuals, in hopes of minimizing the length of the job search process.

It can be intimidating to be just out of rehab and be either looking for a completely new job or have to work to get reintegrated at an old position. The good news is that this is very possible! Be open with your therapist about job-related anxieties, as it is perfectly natural to be worried about this next step. However, the regularity of having a job can be a major advantage for recovering addicts who are trying to avoid lifestyle triggers. Embrace this challenge as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to avoid previous mistakes and truly make the effort at having a fresh start.