6 Ways to Support a Friend in Drug Rehab
Beyond the blood relatives we share our surname and genetics with, there is our chosen family. These are the close friends who define what it means to be our true selves, those select few who we can call no matter what, any time, day or night.
When you need them, you know they will be there without question. When they need you as they are seeking recovery for their drug or alcohol addiction, nothing will stand in the way of you helping.
Your friend has taken a monumental step in seeking drug rehab, and they will need their friends more than ever. Your support means more than you could possibly imagine.
But more than just your presence or care packages, your friend will need love, understanding, and compassion. Here are six ways you can support a friend in drug rehab:
- Be there for the long haul. Recovering drug and alcohol addicts in treatment are at high risk for dropping out. Those with strong support networks have a greater chance of success in completing their addiction treatment program and remaining sober long after. Knowing you will be there for them for the long haul can mean all the difference.
- Set boundaries. Being a good friend sometimes means saying no, when it counts. Setting boundaries in a sympathetic, composed, straightforward approach is best, and can allow your friend to stand up for themselves and take personal responsibility for their actions, addictions, and their life’s direction.
- Practice acceptance. As friends, we can often provide a level of understanding family cannot. Addiction does a lot of harm to one’s mind and body. During their recovery, your friend will be working to undo that damage. It can be a slow process, a difficult process, but a process worth standing up for. Accept your friend for who they are and how far they have come, and not just for what happened in the past.
- Take care of yourself. Friends tell each other hard truths and are comfortable pointing out flaws in ways that nurture and encourage positive change. But tolerating their struggle doesn’t mean you should tolerate abuse. Addiction or not, friendship is a bond that should be free of disrespect, verbal abuse, dishonesty, or a lack of support. If that happens, respond to your friend calmly but firmly, addressing the negative behavior in a non-threatening but forceful manner.
- Make sure they get support from other sources. During drug rehab, support is going to be one of the most imperative things your friend needs. And it won’t just be you they need support from. Being around others who comprehend what they are experiencing can provide profound reassurances during the road of recovery. Whether through a group such as Alcoholics Anonymous or a support group offered at their drug rehab, support from people going through a similar experience will be invaluable.
- Ask questions. You can provide all the support you think your friend needs, but are you sure it’s what they want? One of the greatest ways to support a friend in drug rehab is to ask them what they need, how they’re feeling, and if there’s anything you can do. Even if they don’t have any special requests, they will know you were willing to be there for them when they needed. And that is one of the best signs of friendship that there is.
Since 2004, Lori has worked with the behavioral health treatment community to bring awareness about mental health disorders and evidence-based treatments. Lori strives to help people better understand mental illness and provide support to those needing help and their families. As a mental health advocate, Lori works to be a voice for those suffering from substance abuse, dual diagnosis, borderline personality disorder, depression, anxiety, trauma, or any other disorder.