When was the last time someone complimented or criticized you? Words hold power and can motivate you to work harder for success or discourage you so that you give up in defeat. The words you say hold power, too. That’s why you never want to say these six things to a recovering addict.
1. You Must Be So Tired of Going to Meetings
Sobriety meetings through Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous teach recovering addicts how to live without their substance of choice. While you may not understand the importance of attending regular meetings, many recovering addicts use the testimonies, encouragement, and sponsorship as lifelines. Whether your recovering friend attends multiple meetings every day or one every once in a while, support their meeting attendance and commitment to living a new and improved lifestyle.
2. You’re Getting Better, So Quit Therapy
Some addicts can successfully fight their addiction without professional treatment. In my experience, though, that’s rare. Therapy helps an addict understand why they became addicted, learn strategies to resist triggers and discover how to express emotions in a healthy way. Like you wouldn’t tell someone with diabetes to stop seeing the endocrinologist, don’t discourage a recovering addict from seeing a therapist.
3. Let’s Just Meet for One Drink
Maybe you can handle a beer or two. Your recovering friend can’t. Whether they were an alcohol or drug addict, one drink could trigger a full-blown relapse. I encourage friends and family members of recovering addicts to stay away from beer and bars. Host business meetings, fun celebrations, and social gatherings in a healthy location as you support rather than hinder a recovering addict.
4. You Shouldn’t Crave Drugs Since You’ve Been Clean for So Long
Telling a recovering addict that they should not have any cravings is like telling a person they shouldn’t be tired, hungry, or sad. Cravings for alcohol or drugs can diminish over time, but addiction is rooted in brain chemistry. A recovering addict never knows when an odor, memory, or conversation will trigger a desire for alcohol or drugs. Instead of telling your friend not to have cravings, I challenge you to make yourself available for a chat, coffee, or walk as you support your friend’s successful abstinence.
5. You’ll Be an Addict Forever
It’s true that recovering addicts do need to maintain their treatment plan for the rest of their lives. However, an addict can successfully recover. Telling a person that they will never be whole is both cruel and discouraging. Take a different path when you encourage the recovering addict in your life to follow their treatment plan and stay on track with sobriety.
6. You Should Really Talk to Your Old Friends
A recovering addict needs friends and supporters. They don’t need distractions. If your recovering friend chooses to avoid certain people from their past, it’s for a reason. Support the decision and ask your friend what you can do to support their journey to wholeness.
No matter what substance they’ve been addicted to or how long they’ve been in recovery, all recovering addicts need encouragement and support. I encourage you to do your part in assisting that recovery. Avoid expressing these six sentiments and use your powerful words for good!