Addiction recovery is an ongoing journey that can be filled with many challenges. It can be difficult to know what to say to someone in addiction recovery, especially if you have never been through the process yourself. In this article, we will discuss what addiction recovery looks like and the different stages of recovery. We will also explore the different treatment options that you may present in reaching out a friend or a friend.

healthtreatmentcenters What To Say To Someone In Addiction Recovery

The Road to Addiction Recovery

To better empathize with a friend or family member trying to recover from drugs abuse, it would be helpful to know what does addiction recovery look like.

What are the stages of recovery from addiction? Recovery from addiction is a process that looks different for everyone. There are many factors that can influence the length and difficulty of the recovery journey, such as the individual’s drug of choice, their age, health, and support system.


The first step in addiction recovery is acknowledging that you have a problem and need help. This can be a difficult and frightening step for many people. But it is important to remember that addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, it requires treatment.


The next step in addiction recovery is detoxification, which is the process of cleansing the body of drugs and alcohol. This can be a difficult process because during early sobriety, the person experiences withdrawal symptoms that are uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous.

Psychological Program

In this step, the individual will begin to engage in therapy and counseling. Engaging in psychological programs may be worked alongside the detoxification process. This is important because it helps the individual identify the root causes of their addiction and develop healthy coping mechanisms which they can carry all throughout in life especially when times become challenging again in the future. Underlying depression, anxiety, and overall mental health is also given focus on this step in the process.


The final stage of recovery programs is maintenance, which is when the individual begins to live and sustain a drug-free life. This is quite challenging for many people. Depending on the severity of addiction, it might be a conscious effort for a very long time. There will always be a chance of relapse, but it is important to remember that recovery is possible. There are many resources and support groups available to help individuals suffering from drug or alcohol abuse achieve sobriety.

Reaching out to someone

If a friend or a family member is dealing with substance abuse, it is usually very helpful for them to have someone reach out during they recovery process. However, those who care for these drug abuse clients might be unsure what to say or do.

The following are some tips on what to say to someone in addiction recovery:

  • Avoid judgment: It is important to remember that addiction is a disease, and like any other disease, it requires treatment.
  • Be supportive: Show your support for the individual by attending therapy sessions with them or joining a support group.
  • Be patient: Recovery from substance use disorder is a process that takes time. Knowing that the client’s condition might be considered as a chronic illness, there may be setbacks and relapses, but it is important to remember that recovery is possible.
  • Offer help: There are many ways you can help someone and making a genuine gesture of recovery support would be very much appreciated by anyone especially those suffering from substance abuse. You may assist them in their recovery effort by helping them find a job, housing, or by just simply offering yourself as a constant emotional support.
  • Listen: One of the most important things you can do for someone in making recovery efforts is to simply listen. Let them know that you are there for them and offer your support. Knowing that someone is ready to listen not only boosts their mental health but also their overall well being.

Communicating with someone in addiction recovery

If you are still unsure on what to say to someone in addiction recovery, here are certain encouraging words that you may use when reaching out to them.

  • I’m here for you: This simple statement can mean a lot to someone is a very good message as a recovery support. It shows that you care and are willing to support them through their journey.
  • Congratulations on taking the first step: Acknowledging their progress and effort in recovery can help motivate them to continue on this path. It is a reminder that there is no shame in in being in this process. It will boost their determination and overall mental health as they try to achieve a new life.
  • I’m proud of you: This phrase communicates your admiration for what the individual has accomplished. It also serves as a reminder that they are capable of living a sober life. Even though addiction medicine and treatment facilities help a recovering addict, it is still very important for them to know that the people around them, especially a loved one, is proud of their initiative to stay sober.
  • You are not alone: Hearing this from someone can be reassuring and comforting, especially during difficult times. It can remind them that they have people who care about them and are willing to support them. People struggling from substance abuse need to know that many family members and friends care for them. It will help them care more for their own well being.
  • I believe in you: This phrase communicates your faith in the individual’s ability to recover from addiction. It is a reminder that they are not defined by their disease and that they have the strength to overcome it even if they are still in the early stages of addiction treatment.
what does addiction recovery look like

Here’s What NOT to Say to Someone in Recovery

As much as it is important to think about what to say to someone in addiction recovery, you must also be aware on what NOT to say. Even in our intentions, we might hurt people when they tell them something that seems unkind or rude that will make them feel discouraged. Addiction is a personal journey that many people don’t understand. If not careful enough, someone reaching to a friend or family member might say the wrong thing that can make the situation worse.

  • You’re weak: This statement is hurtful and untrue. No one chooses to be addicted to drugs or alcohol. It’s important to remember that addiction is a disease, not a personal choice.
  • Just quit: If it were that easy, they would have done it already. These three words undermine the complexity of addiction and what the person is going through.
  • It’s all in your head: This phrase communicates that the individual’s struggle with addiction is not real or valid. It invalidates their experience and can be very hurtful.
  • You’re just looking for attention: This statement suggests that the person is using their addiction as a way to seek attention from others. It minimizes the seriousness of the disease and is hurtful.
  • I don’t believe you: This phrase communicates that you don’t trust the person or what they’re saying. It’s important to be supportive and understand that addiction is a real disease.

Saying any of these things, whether intentional or not, can make someone in addiction recovery feel worse about themselves. It’s important to be supportive and understanding, even if you don’t know what they’re going through. If you’re not sure what to say, it’s okay to ask questions and learn more about what they’re dealing with. Addiction is a complex disease, but showing support make a big difference in someone’s road to recovery.

Treatment Options

When people struggling with addiction gains self awareness and are now in the crossroads between hitting rock bottom and early recovery, knowing what the options for treatment looks like help them decide to the latter. Knowing what to say to someone in addiction recovery may not be just composed of encouraging words. You can also help them navigate through the professional help and recovery programs that are available to help them fully recover from substance use. Here are some of the most common treatment options:

  • Inpatient rehab: This type of treatment is conducted in a hospital or residential setting. It allows people to focus on their recovery without distractions from everyday life.
  • Outpatient rehab: This type of treatment allows people to live at home and continue with their normal routine while attending scheduled appointments at an outpatient facility.
  • 12-step programs: This program is specifically based on the 12 steps of Alcoholics Anonymous. They provide support and guidance for people struggling with addiction.
  • Therapeutic recreation: How therapeutic recreation helps with addiction recovery? This type of treatment uses recreational activities to help people in recovery develop new skills and interests. It can also be used to help them cope with stress, depression, and anxiety.

No matter what treatment option you choose, it’s important to seek professional help if you’re struggling with addiction. Recovery is a long and difficult process, but it’s possible with the right support. The program offered by national institute in your country may offer other programs. What is important is to consider a person’s life when deciding what form or kind of treatment to enroll in.

Bottomline: Words have power

As they say, words indeed have power. Carefully contemplating what to say to someone in addiction recovery is a thoughtful gesture to show your genuine care for someone struggling with substance use disorder. Providing encouragement to a loved one in recovery is essential to their recovery efforts. These words can be used to communicate a support message to a person in more readable terms.

It is advisable to steer away from negative or hurtful statements that can further damage a person’s emotional state. Instead, use positive and affirming words to show your support for their sobriety journey. Seek professional help to find the right treatment program for your loved one. Recovery from substance use is a long and difficult process, but it’s possible with the right support.

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, please reach out for help. There are many resources available that will cater your needs. National institutes in your country may offer a wide variety of programs and services to help people struggling with addiction.

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