Going to residential treatment for a drug addiction, alcohol problem, or dual diagnosis mental health issue is a vulnerable choice. Supporting your friend in their vulnerability is a big challenge.
- Spend quality time. What you do with your time is a matter of details. Going out of your way to spend quality time with someone who is in treatment, in the way that they need you to spend time with them, will mean the world to them. If there are visiting hours at their treatment center and you have the opportunity to go, seize the chance.
- Go out for coffee: Drug and alcohol recovery can be sensitive in the beginning months during treatment. Going to restaurants or bars might be too triggering to start with. Instead, make it a chore to explore every coffee house in the area. If you want to sit with a beverage to talk, or feel you need a drink to make yourself feel comfortable, opt for coffee and tea over anything else.
- Listen to them talk: Verbalizing what they are going through in treatment might be difficult for them to do. If they feel comfortable around you and trust you, they might seek you out to confide in. Be available to hold the space they need to vent in a healthy way. Remember, you aren’t their therapist even though you might be quite wise. It’s important, when their information becomes painful or muddled, to direct them back to their therapist or a group in treatment.
- Don’t impart your judgments: Giving your opinion on their feelings and experiences is invalidating. Instead of giving them your judgments, just let them talk and listen. You can ask if they want to receive feedback.
- Relate to difficult times in your personal life. Be sure not to steal their thunder when they’re opening up. There’s a fine line between opening up about your past and taking the floor to vent your own grievances.
- If you want them to trust you, act trustworthy: Don’t tell their friends or family what they tell you unless it is a mention of life-threatening emergency. If you cannot handle the burden of what they are going through, you should direct them somewhere else. Don’t resent them for their emotions or turning to you. Be the safe place they need you to be.
- Be their number one fan: Most importantly be their number one supporter! Remind them of the tremendous task they are taking on by being in recovery and going to treatment to work on themselves. Encourage them to keep going and doing the great job they are already deciding to do.
Aurora Recovery Centre wants to help your loved one find the path to lifelong recovery. Our residential treatment programs are here to light the way. For more information, call 844-515-STOP.