7 Tips on How to Talk to Others About Their Recovery
Talking to a recovering individual about their condition can feel tricky. How do you know which words might end up triggering them? How do you bring up the topic naturally without making it awkward? After all, you do not want to say anything that may hurt the other person. That said, you still want to show your support and learn more about how they are doing.
Fortunately, there are countless resources you can check to help you achieve that. Family and friends can attend lectures and meetings that address this very issue. Many institutions across the country, like Tampa drug rehab centers, have services that offer informative workshops for friends and family on how to approach recovering individuals.
To help you get started, here are a few tips to keep in mind before you set up a meeting with a loved one recovering from drug addiction.
The most effective thing that you can do when talking with someone who’s recovering is to simply be kind. Addiction often comes with a stigma, and individuals with substance use disorder, sadly, expect other people to shun them, insult them, and even reject them. By acting kindly, you immediately set yourself apart from the expected and show your support to their recovery. Hence, whether in action or words, always put kindness first.
In a conversation, people usually feel the urge to put their own input on a specific topic. When talking to a loved one about their recovery, however, it may be more meaningful for them if you decide to listen more. As they are given more chances to speak, it encourages them to open up to you and reveal how they are truly doing.
Mind Your Language
Words have a lot of power. They carry meaning, reveal biases, and even pass judgment. Hence, you need to practice mindful speaking if you wish to connect with the other person.
It can be difficult to find the right words, but there are simple tips that you can stand by. First one: do not use labels. Terms such as junkie, drug addict, drunkard, and abuser have negative connotations, which reduces a person to a bad stereotype. Even if the person uses the term to describe themselves, you should steer away from using these labels.
Secondly, stop using words like “clean” and “dirty” to describe a person. Having substance use disorder does not make them dirty. It simply means that they have a medical condition and need help.
Overall, be more mindful of the words that come out of your mouth.
Focus on the Present
Drug addiction causes rifts between people. It may cause a user to hurt their loved ones and destroy relationships. If you got hurt by the other person in the past, do not bring it up now while the other party is getting treatment. More often than not, recovering individuals are aware of the pain they caused to themselves and others, and talking about it during a crucial period of healing may do more harm than good for them.
Instead, look for an objective third party—like a therapist—to help you process feelings of pain and hurt. With time, when things have settled and intense feelings have ebbed, you can have a proper talk about the past with the other person.
Be Hopeful and Supportive
For people struggling with substance use disorder, sobriety can feel like a far-off dream. Managing cravings, pointing out stress points, and applying healthy coping mechanisms can feel like a lot of work, especially when they are just beginning to heal.
Hence, you need to encourage them and highlight how fruitful their efforts would be in the future. Be excited about their goals and plans later on in life. Highlight the possibilities of a sober lifestyle. By putting the spotlight on the results rather than the labor, they may feel motivated to stick to their treatment plan.
Apply an Others-First Approach
One helpful tip to follow when setting up a meeting with your friend is to apply an others-first approach. It simply means that you always consider what the other person needs and respect their decisions.
Some of the practical things you can do to apply this tip are:
- Meeting at a place where they feel safe and comfortable
- Focusing on the other person’s story, not yours
- Respect their choices (e.g. not drinking alcohol or any other substances)
- Having a private conversation, as opposed to talking with a lot of people around
By putting the other person first, they will feel more comfortable talking with you and about themselves.
Educate Yourself About Addiction
There are a lot of assumptions about addiction, and not all of them are true. Before talking with your loved ones, do your homework and learn more about addiction, its treatment, and other issues related to the topic. By doing so, you show your support and concern for the other party, even if most of the information you studied does not come up mid-conversation.
Overall, the key to a meaningful talk is good communication. If you somehow misspoke, apologize and be open to correction. The important thing is to let the other person know you have their best interests at heart and will be there to support them through their journey.