Support and encouragement from family and friends is a huge factor in addiction recovery for many people, and it’s something we promote at a high level at Renaissance Ranch. Both our inpatient and outpatient addiction treatment programs encourage and foster open lines of communications with support outlets.
As friends or loved ones of someone in recovery, we have to take caution. While well-intentioned, some of the things we say or do might subtly trigger negative cravings or set back the recovery process. These aren’t enabling traits so much as they’re common mental traps many support outlets fall into. Let’s look at a few of the most common, and why to stay away from them.
You Don’t Seem Like an Addict
The word “addiction” conjures up a mental image for many people: A shabby-looking, destitute and perhaps homeless person just looking for their next fix. In reality, many people who deal with addiction are much more capable of hiding it, and can appear like “normal” adults before you find out what’s going on with them.
By telling someone they don’t look like an addict, you’re minimizing the real gravity of their situation. This may give them a false sense that what they’re doing is okay to continue.
“You can have just one drink” may sound like a harmless statement, but it’s not. Recovering addicts have worked extremely hard to get to where they are, and telling them “just one” can minimize this struggle. Beyond that, it can be one of the quickest ways to lead to a relapse.
When are You Cured?
A big mistake many people make is assuming that a friend or loved one in recovery will simply be “cured” at some point, and return to normal life. Addiction is indeed a disease, but it’s not one with a set timetable for a cure. Everyone’s journey is different. Asking an addict if they’re cured might make them feel like they’re failing or coming up short somehow, which can disrupt recovery.
Down similar lines, some assume that after a certain long enough period of time, a former addict will be able to go back to drinking or using drugs “normally.” This completely ignores the often-fragile state of mind these people can be in, often for years or decades after struggling with addiction. Telling them things like this also gives some people a sense of permission – they allow themselves to eventually fall back into this pattern because they use your words as justification.
For alcohol, pornography and drug abuse, the right support is huge. To learn more about how to offer the proper helping hand, or about any of our addiction treatment programs, speak to the friendly staff at Renaissance Ranch today.