What NOT To Say To Someone In Recovery

Written by Chloe Nicosia

It’s Important To Know What NOT To Say To Someone In Recovery

When a person is in recovery from any type of addiction, each day can be a challenge. Family and friends often overstep boundaries when talking to someone going through this struggle, and they need to know what not to say to someone in recovery.

What NOT To Say To Someone In Recovery

If you have a family member, friend, or co-worker in addiction recovery, don’t make their challenge more difficult by making inappropriate comments about it. Learn what not to say to someone in recovery so that you can be an encouragement to his or her efforts.

  • Don’t say: “It’s not a big deal because we’re all addicted to something. Soda is my hangup.” You can’t compare the horrors of drug and alcohol addiction to drinking too much soda or any other habit even if it is unhealthy.
  • Don’t say: “So, are you really craving to do drugs again?” A person in recovery is constantly fighting the battle against relapse.
  • Don’t say: “How long are you going to be stuck going to meetings?” For many people, meeting attendance goes on for many years and even a lifetime. Meetings are a positive in the recovering addicts life, not a negative.
  • Don’t say: “Why did you ever use drugs? Everyone knows how bad they are.” Addiction is a disease. Don’t insult your recovering friend by blaming them for their problem.
  • Don’t say: “You don’t look or act like an alcoholic. I never saw you drunk at work.” An alcoholic or any addict, tries to hide their problem as much as they can.
  • Don’t say: “Everyone’s meeting at Joe’s Bar after work. Want to come? Nobody will care if you don’t drink.” Inviting a recovering alcoholic to go to a bar

When talking to a friend or family member in recovery, stay on positive issues and not his or her problems with addiction.

How To Help An Addict

If you have wondered how to help an addict in a positive and encouraging way, the following tips will help.

  • Avoid negativity, and never bring up the mistakes he or she made while still using drugs. Mention only things that are positive and uplifting.
  • Never serve alcohol or allow any one you suspect of using drugs in your home when your recovering friend or family member is there. A substance-free environment is the best gift you can give.
  • If he or she wants to talk, all you need to do is listen. Never criticize. Always let the person you care about know you are available whenever they need support and encouragement.
  • Encourage healthy endeavors including good nutrition, exercise and physical activities (hiking, cycling, swimming) and mental exercise such as journaling and stress management activities.
  • Hold substance-free birthday, anniversary, and holiday parties. Everyone will have more fun, and remember it.
  • Go to an open addiction support meeting where friends and family are welcomed. You will learn a lot about what you can do to help, and what you should not do.

How To Help Someone With Alcoholism

Do you have a family member who is a heavy drinker, and you need to know how to help someone with alcoholism? There are things to do and not do when it comes to alcohol abuse.

  • Never enable an alcoholic by loaning money, paying a bill, making excuses for bad behavior, or making a “sick call” to his or her place of employment.
  • Keep your home alcohol-free, and don’t allow an alcoholic friend or family member bring liquor into your home.
  • Offer to go to meetings with the person you care about, and learn as much as you can about alcoholism and those who suffer from it.
  • Don’t try to force a person to go into treatment. Instead, be sincere and honest with him or her, and let them know you will support them when the time comes they make that choice.
  • Don’t be accusatory and judgmental. The one you care about may resist treatment if he or she feels they are being judged.

Call Better Addiction Care at 1.800.429.7690 if the person you care about is ready to get treatment for his or her drinking problem. We offer a free referral service and will help you find the right addiction treatment facility.