Tips for Helping a Person in Recovery from Drugs or Alcohol

Helping someone who struggles with substance use disorder or alcohol use disorder achieve recovery is a process that is different for everyone.

In most cases, the individual needs to have an internal motivation to obtain his or her own sobriety. Thus, it can be difficult for someone to help another person obtain their own sobriety.

If you know someone who is battling a substance use disorder, here are some things you can do to help support them on a path to recovery:

  1. Foster motivation and encouragement: One of the main challenges is providing an environment that is both supporting and challenging. Those who struggle with addiction tend to isolate themselves from others in an effort to continue engaging in behaviors that are toxic toward their well-being. Encouraging individuals to become connected to others is a crucial component in early stages of recovery as well as to promote long-term sobriety.
  2. Help them find a support system. Connection can come in the form of support groups (such as Narcotics Anonymous, ALANO, etc.), residential inpatient services, intensive outpatient services, religious organizations, community outreach centers, or hospital programs. Essentially, the goal is to help the person build a support system that is based in healthy interpersonal relationships. Research has shown that individuals suffering from addiction tend to have decreased levels of self-worth, self-awareness, and fractured identities due to the multitude of issues that arise out or from the use of illicit substances.
  3. Promote self-awareness. It is important to promote and encourage a greater understanding of oneself and how the self relates to the various contextual or environmental factors within a society. Being aware of the self helps normalize the negative emotional, cognitive, or behavioral aspects of substance use disorders.
  4. Just be there. When a person who is struggling with substance use disorder begins to realize that he or she is not alone in this world, a shift in cognitive processing tends to take place. Within that change, one may be more open to suggestions and begin addressing the various issues that have contributed to or worsened their addiction.

In order to maintain sobriety, one must first understand what purpose the drug use was serving. Once that is established, the real healing (recovery) can begin.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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Read 18 Comments

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this tips. I agree that a geat way to help someone with their addiction recovery is to just be there for them. I will make sure to start doing this with my friends.

  2. My wife has been addicted to smoking ever since she was 17 and wants to quit but has struggled over the past few months doing so! It was awesome to read that encouraging individual with an addiction to become connected to others is a crucial component in early stages of recovery. As we fight to get her back on her feet we will be sure to take that into consideration to help her feel better!

  3. Thank you so much for talking about the importance of having a supportive group when dealing with addiction recovery. It makes sense that having someone that can cheer you on and support you would make a big difference when it comes to finding the motivation to keep fighting. Personally, I would want to make sure I do my research and find the best programs in my area that can help me get rid of alcohol in my live i=once and for all.

  4. This was quite educational and gave me more clarification on how to show support. One of my dearest friends has been struggling, and it’s beginning to worry us. It’s nice to learn about what research has soon about individuals suffering from addiction concerning their self-worth and awareness.

  5. Once the individual is aware of their problems, it will be better for them to understand that they need help! It is great that you point that out. Once the person understands there is a problem, they can get the help of not only professionals, but of family and friends. Those family and friends can help motivate the individual as well as helping to hold the person accountable if they fall back to their bad habits.

  6. It’s good to know that when it comes to helping someone with a drug addiction that there are somethings that we might want to keep in mind to make sure that we are able to help. I am glad that you mentioned that one thing we should help promote self-awareness so that they will be able to have a greater understanding of who they are. This is something that I will have to remember when it comes to helping our son get over his drug addiction smoothly.

  7. My friend was addicted to drugs, and he is still undergoing drug treatment. I find your article very helpful as it suggests to just be there for my friend so that when he begins to realize that he’s not alone in this world, he will be more open to suggestions and will begin addressing the issues that contributed to his addiction. I’ll share this with his family as well so that we can help him become sober.

  8. I like that you provided some tips for helping a person recover from drugs or alcohol such as helping them find a support system. It is important to let the person know that he is not alone in this fight. You may want to lend a helping hand or encourage him to participate in various support programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous or Narcotics Anonymous. This way, the person would feel that there are people around who do care for him and is praying for his full recovery. Thanks.

  9. A friend of mine has recently admitted to me that he is addicted to heroin and wants help to get off it. I’m not really sure what to do, so thanks for suggesting that you help them find a program that will support them and help them make healthy interpersonal relationships. I’ll have to help him find one of those systems.

  10. I like that you talked about the importance of providing a supporting and challenging environment to a person who’s trying to recover from drugs or alcohol addiction. My sister confessed to me that she’s suffering from alcohol addiction, and she feels like she’ll never be treated anymore. I want to help her recover from what she’s experiencing, so I will make sure to encourage her to consider outpatient treatment services. Thanks!

    1. Ellen, thank you so much for sharing. We are always encouraged to hear that our work is helping others. We wish you and your sister the best.

  11. My cousin wants to be sober and be able to go back to school to finish his studies. It was explained here that we should help him find a support system and be there for him. Moreover, it’s advisable to see professionals for residential addiction treatment.

  12. thanks for the info, it’s really helpful for all of us, my nephew is a drug addicted and we are trying to help him, from now we are always with him support him, thanks for the tips

  13. Hi DAVID CLARK ,
    There is a real lack of knowledge and understanding about the severe, long-term effects such as memory loss and organ damage that can be caused by inhalants such as Mafuta. Children are not educated about the side effects of drug abuse and instead, focus on the short-term hit and its beneficial effects. Our Drop In Centre provides lessons on the dangers of drug abuse, but often the children attending are already addicted.

  14. Another tip for recovery is that once you are clean and sober, then you should embrace a holistic approach to your recovery. This means that you should branch out in your recovery efforts to include things such as nutrition, exercise, emotional stability, networking with peers in recovery, and a variety of other approaches as well.

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