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A supportive network of friends and family can be extremely important to someone suffering from addiction when it comes to recovery. Studies show that treatment like Network Therapy, which incorporates the individual’s social and familial network into treatment modalities, have measurable, positive results.

So supporting your friend or loved one can make all the difference. Hugs are easy enough to give to someone we love, but what do we say to someone in recovery? And just as important, what do we not say?

If you want to be supportive, avoid these three support faux pas:

  1. “Remember when you…?”
    Recovering individuals have to address the wreckage of the past in their own time. In the beginning, they often experience deep shame over the things their disease has caused them to say or do; the first order of business is acknowledging not only that they have a problem, but that their problem has likely been a problem for others, as well. Sooner or later, they learn to laugh at some of the past. Yet in the beginning, allow those in recovery the time to bring up indiscretions on their own.
  2. “Can’t you have just one?”
    Most experts agree that recovery from drug and alcohol addiction requires complete abstinence. Since denial is a symptom of addiction, someone suffering from an addiction might agree with your suggestion to have “just one.” But one drink or pill could trigger a recovery relapse.
  3. “How long will you have to be in recovery?
    Some consider recovery a life-long process, as addiction is considered to be a progressive disease that only goes into remission after treatment. For those with an addiction, recovery is not just an event – it’s a path. Be patient. Give him or her the time to heal and encourage your loved to stay on the path.

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