Addiction is a disease that negatively affects all elements of life and the body. Anyone who has experienced this first, second or even third-hand knows the devastating relationship outcomes of addiction. When someone you love and care about is struggling with addiction, it can be heart-wrenching. Watching a friend struggle with addiction is a kind of heartache all its own.
Being a supportive friend to someone struggling with addiction can be difficult but well worth the rewards. Here are four simple reminders that can help guide your friendship with someone struggling with addiction.
- Genuinely Check-in Often
- Provide Comfort & Support
- Educate Yourself
- Stay Positive
Check up on your friends struggling with addiction.
A good friend cares about their friends’ well being and wants what’s best for their friends. Being a supportive friend to someone struggling with addiction means checking up on them often. Don’t be quaint and shallow with the check-in, either. Be genuine and throughout the conversation. Checking in consistently and with depth shows authentic support for someone struggling with addiction.
Ask about how they feel in that moment and what intense emotions they have experienced since the last conversation. Truly listen to their words and even the emotion in their voice. Dig deeper into the things that seem to bother them. Help them work through solutions when they are struggling. Sometimes just having someone who cares to talk to can be a day saver, and for someone struggling with addiction, it could quite literally be a lifesaver.
Comfort friends struggling with addiction.
When a friend needs extra attention or comfort to handle difficult situations and intense emotional times, a good friend will go the extra mile to help. Whether it is something small like a ride to a meeting or something more extensive like offering a place to stay—comfort and support look different depending on the people and the situation involved. Being a supportive friend to someone struggling with addiction means being reasonably available emotionally and physically.
Finding healthy ways to comfort and support close friends depends on the relationship history and individual needs. As with any friendship, unwritten rules and boundaries exist in the fine print of your relationship. It is essential to have conversations about what types of support friends are comfortable giving and receiving. The last thing you want to do is cross a line or push away a friend who struggles with addiction.
Educate yourself on addiction.
To provide healthy comfort and support as a friend to someone struggling with addiction, educating yourself on the disease can only benefit the relationship. Take the initiative to learn more about addiction and even about your friends’ specific challenges. There are lots of places to get more information about addiction; the internet is a great start. You can often get books and informational pamphlets from a local library or recovery center. You could even go to a meeting with your friend or on your own to learn more. Al-anon groups are available for families and friends of those living with addiction that can provide perspective and insight from others in a similar role.
Addiction is a complex disease, and it’s understandable not to know a lot right away. However, taking the time to understand addiction and how it affects people is incredibly beneficial. It also helps you be more aware of the signs and triggers associated with substance abuse. However you choose to educate yourself on addiction helps you, your friend, and your friendship.
People in recovery and those struggling with addiction will experience emotional extremes. As a friend to someone struggling with addiction, it helps to stay grounded and positive for your friend even when they may be in a depressive mood. Avoid becoming overly optimistic to where they wouldn’t want to share their lows, but be a spark of light in their dark when they need it most.
Encouraging them shows you care and want your friend to hold on to the good, knowing that they will feel better soon. A part of healing is dealing with the downs of past and current traumas, and being a good friend means being able to hold their hand and remind them where their smile is. Finding your inner light is essential so that you can help your friends do the same.
No one said it was easy.
Being a supportive friend to someone who struggles with addiction may not be the most effortless friendship to maintain. Still, when you love and care about someone in your life, you will take the extra effort to support their well-being. Someone struggling with addiction needs genuine friends more now than ever. A successful recovery will strongly depend on a healthy support team. The supportive environment offered at The Haven at Pismo provides someone struggling with addiction an ideal environment for recovery. If you or someone you know is that friend struggling with addiction, call our team of credentialed addiction specialists: 805.202.3440.