Relapse is a difficult situation. When someone you love who is in addiction recovery had a relapse, it can be extremely difficult to know what to say. We all want our loved ones to get better, but we don’t always know how to help them. Sometimes saying the wrong thing can make matters worse.
Maybe you’re thinking: But what if I feel hurt, angry, and disappointed about what happened? It’s common to feel these emotions about someone who has relapsed. It’s also common to want to blame them. However, you have to understand that addiction is a disease, not a voluntary choice that people make. Therefore, relapsing is always a given risk throughout their sobriety journey. They can easily slip back into addictive behaviors which can pull them back down to their lowest points. It can even take over someone’s life in the process.
It is very important to watch your words and how you phrase them when speaking to a loved one who relapsed. Here are a few suggestions of what you can use when speaking to a loved one who had a recent relapse.
“I’m here to listen when you’re ready to talk.”
When your loved ones relapse, it might be tempting to immediately ask them about what happened. It’s natural to want to know details so you can perhaps help them. Sometimes, however, these good intentions can backfire.
If your loved ones are not ready to talk about what happened yet, don’t force a conversation. Give them some space and time to cope with what happened. You just have to tell them and show them that you are there for them if they need someone to talk to and they are ready to open up to you.
“It’s okay to feel sad about it.”
A common defense mechanism is to deny our feelings so that we can feel more optimistic about our problems. That’s why when someone is feeling down, we often hear people say “Don’t feel so bad about it” or “Cheer up, it’s not the end of the world!” While you might think that saying these things can help make them motivated, some might take it as being insensitive. Although your goal is to lift up your loved ones from their negative emotions, saying these things could make them feel that you’re invalidating their feelings.
Tell them it’s okay to feel sad about what happened. This lets them know that you recognize that it was beyond their control and you do empathize with their situation. By letting them go through the natural process of feeling bad about it, you can help them move forward.
“This does not mean you failed. You can try again. ”
Your loved ones may feel like a failure because of their relapse. The problem with this is that they might think that there’s no hope for them to recover anymore. You can motivate them to continue with their recovery journey by telling them that they are NOT a failure and the relapse was just a bump on the road that they can get overcome if they just continue with their recovery.
“Let me know what I can do to help.”
The best way to support your loved ones on their next try at sobriety is to make sure they know you’re willing to be there for them. Recovery is going to take a lot of work. Being there for your loved ones as they make the difficult journey can be very valuable.
Remember that the most important thing for a recovering addict is the support of others in their life. When they know that you are there for them during every step of their recovery process, it can mean more than anything else.
Helping a loved one who had a relapse
Relapse is a very common occurrence in the recovery process. Millions of people struggle with substance abuse every year, and millions more are family members or friends of those who suffer from addiction. If you fall into that category, chances are you’ve had to help someone who has relapsed numerous times before they finally got clean for good.
It can be tough to see loved ones continue on this path over and over again despite your best efforts, but it’s important not to give up hope just because recovery is always possible.
If you or a loved one is struggling with substance abuse, help is available.
Contact Anaheim Lighthouse today.