Shoreline Sober Living, San Diego, CA
What to say to a friend in rehab

Most individuals suffering from addiction will experience extreme negative emotions, including large amounts of guilt. The depressed and anxious feelings will often not go away for long periods, which can cause detrimental effects on the individual’s mental and physical health. Many individuals enter into rehab feeling extremely anxious, overwhelmed, and embarrassed, which is why it is vital for family members and close friends to be as supportive as possible to help rebuild their loved ones’ confidence.

This article will discuss the types of conversations and encouraging words you can say to a loved one entering or in rehab.

I am proud of you

This phrase is one of the most inspiring and encouraging words for a loved one who is going through rehab. Saying “I am proud of you” shows the individual that their family and friends can see that they are improving; they have recognized positive changes due to the rehab.

Suppose you are to consistently remind an individual who is struggling that you are proud of them. In that case, it will, over time, build up their confidence in themselves, encouraging them to strive for better and keep going even on their worst days. Additionally, reinforcing the positive phrase will show the individual that they have value in this world, which they will be doubting. The individual will begin to realize that they do not need to feel negative emotions or guilt for being in rehab or for any wrongdoings.

One of the best times to emphasize that the individual is doing well is when they have reached a milestone within their addiction, such as one month or one year sober.

Focus on yourself and your recovery

Addiction is often viewed and associated with self-absorbed tendencies and a certain level of selfishness; however, the recovery from addiction is often the addict putting everyone but themselves first. For example, a father may feel anxious and guilty for wanting to attend treatment for their addiction because they will temporarily leave his child in the care of another family member or friend. This leaves the parent delaying their treatment, which inevitably worsens their addiction, so they do not have to leave their child and deal with the guilt of that situation.

Ensure that your loved one knows and understands that you want them to focus on getting better, which means they must focus on their recovery. For a temporary period, the individual must focus on self-development to ensure that getting the treatment is as beneficial as possible.

You are not alone

There is a rather significant stigma around substance abuse and addiction which often results in individuals suffering in silence, struggling for years on end. The struggling addict will often isolate themselves, which results in a range of mental health issues that can make them feel as if they are the only person on the planet dealing with a form of addiction.

Ensuring that your suffering loved one is not alone in their journey may mean sharing stories of their favorite celebrity who made it through sobriety or a role model. Reading out statistics to them pointing out that a large proportion of America has been addicted to some illicit substance. Opening and discussing addiction and the struggles that come along with the experiences can often help the suffering individual not feel so alone and guilty for what has happened.

I love and care for you

Phrases such as “I love you” or “I care for you” can profoundly affect an individual’s mindset and perspective. It reminds the suffering individual that they are:

  • Valued as a person and human being
  • They will understand and acknowledge that they are not alone in this process.
  • They will be aware that their loved ones are thinking about them in their time of need.
  • They will understand that even when they are struggling and have done negative things in the past, they are still loved by their family and friends.

Showing the struggling individuals that they are loved and cared for will mean the absolute world to them. Often individuals in rehab will feel alone, scared and ashamed, especially in the first couple weeks. It will make their lives a lot easier to transition to life in rehab if they have a supportive family.

Focus on the present

When talking to an individual in rehab, you mustn’t bring up the past; these conversations may trigger specific memories that could be the reason for relapse. Instead, enough that the conversation is surrounded by future and present thoughts.

Things to remember

It is vital to remember a few points when you are speaking to a suffering loved one who is about to enter, is currently in rehab, or is a recovering drug addict, the first being:

Only say what you mean

It is vital that you only ever say positive phrases that you genuinely mean. The individual you speak to will already be in a low emotional and mental state; they will often feel scared, anxious, and overwhelmed. If you are to lie about positive reinforcements, they will see straight through you.

Whenever you speak to your suffering loved one, please remember only to say what you truly feel; if you have nothing positive to say, say nothing.

Don’t preach

Supporting an individual is entirely different from preaching positive reinforcement to them. When speaking to your loved one, be cautious of your tone, facial expressions, and how you say things.

Below we have listed a few other topics not to bring up or say to an individual who is in rehab or is a recovering addict:

  • Never ask the individual how they ended up being an addict
  • Don’t list out the potentials that could go wrong
  • Do not tell the person or give your opinion on how they can recover quicker or give up their habit permanently
  • Give any suggestion, it may be coming from a loving place, but it may very quickly be taken in another way
  • Do not under any circumstance tell the individual that you knew they would end up in rehab

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