Encouraging Words for Someone in Rehab: Knowing What to Say and When
According to statistics released by the Addiction Center, close to 21 million U.S citizens have an addiction. Out of those 21 million Americans, only 10% receive treatment. It is likely that someone you know and care about is a part of the 10% of people who have made the brave decision to seek help for their struggle with addiction.
Seeking help for addiction can be a frightening and anxiety-driven time for those who have been dependent on drugs or alcohol. As a friend or a family member, we want to make sure to motivate and encourage our loved ones to stick with their recovery plan, but how? Wondering what some encouraging words for someone in rehab are? Keep reading to find out!
Here’s What NOT to Say to Someone in Rehab
It is vital to identify some of the things people should not say to someone in rehab first and foremost. Even with the best of intentions, we can hurt those we know in recovery by saying things that come off as insensitive or rude.
Addiction and recovery are two unique and personal journeys we may not all relate to. The lack of relatability can lead to us accidentally saying the wrong things to people we care about. Here are a few examples of what not to say:
“Are you sure that you need rehab?”
Addiction is a complex struggle that involves shame, dishonesty, and fear. If someone tells you that they are in recovery or in a rehabilitation center, the chances are that they have struggled more than you will ever know.
If you know someone in rehab, asking them if they are sure they need it, even if you are truly curious, is offensive. This person has probably gone through a lot to get to a place where they feel like they can accept and receive help. Saying this could sound like you are challenging their judgment; take their word for it.
“What was your rock bottom?”
Unless the person in recovery tells you what lead them to seek out help, do not ask. Although it can be interesting to learn the answer, someone’s “bottom” is extremely personal. The scariest, most shameful, and vulnerable person of a person’s life should not be casually discussed unless they explicitly want to share that information.
“I Know Exactly What You’re Going Through.”
Unless you are in recovery or have gone through the experience of being in a rehab facility, you probably do not know what this person is going through. Although you want to come off as supportive and relatable, saying this could be minimizing their experiences.
“Wow, You’re in Recovery? So is ________!”
Although the intention behind this is to show your loved ones that they are not alone, sobriety and recovery are personal matters. Some people can be more open about it than others; therefore, it is never our place to discuss another person’s recovery. Unless you get explicit consent to share this information with a specific person, it is best to keep it to yourself.
“You can never drink or get high again?!”
Recovery is a journey that lasts a lifetime. Making the person in recovery think about the weight of the timeline can be anxiety-provoking and daunting for them. Apart from substance use, people in recovery work with the emotional and mental trauma that often accompanies problematic and compulsive drug use. Seeing sobriety as something positive and supporting this journey is the best way to go about it.
Encouraging Words to Say to Someone in Rehab
Now that we have what not to say out of the way let’s get into a few kind words you can say to your loved one in rehab. Having a supportive and understanding community can make all the difference to those in recovery; knowing what to say can significantly make a difference in their confidence and outlook.
“I am so proud of you.”
Showing your support and excitement for someone’s admission into rehab can be huge. By expressing how proud you are, you are making it clear that there is no judgment or negative feelings, only the desire for them to do what is best. Telling them that you are proud also acknowledges that this person has made a big decision to seek help for substance use and that it is not something to take lightly.
“I am here for you.”
Although they have therapists, counselors, and health care professionals with them during their stay at the rehab facility, the beginning of recovery can feel like an isolating time. Telling them that you are always there can make them feel less cut off from their friends and family.
“How is it going?”
It is best to ask general questions to someone who is in recovery so that they can self-disclose as much as little as they want to—asking a general question to check in on how they are doing gives them the reigns on the conversation.
Another reason to ask about how they are doing is that substance use is usually comorbid with other mental struggles such as anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder, and more. Sometimes people self-medicate to ease the symptoms of other disorders; other times, these disorders can be triggered by the use of substances.
The start of rehab can be a moment where mental illnesses are becoming apparent or worse. Check in on your loved ones and encourage them to talk about their feelings if they are struggling with their mental health.
“How can I help?”
Asking what you can do to help your loved one in recovery shows that you are not assuming that you know what they need. Asking what they specifically need from you empowers the person in recovery to ask for help where they want and need it.
Finding out how you can help may also allow you to help with transportation, treatments, emotional support, help with pets and relatives, or whatever could be needed to make their recovery easier.
“You are not alone.”
Again, 21 million Americans struggle with addiction. That means that statistically, we all have friends and family members that struggle with substance use disorder. Reminding your loved one that a giant community of people can relate to the obstacles they have gone through can help them feel less alone. Inform them that there are meetings where they can make sober friends and build a supportive community after rehab.
“You deserve to focus on yourself and your recovery.”
Reminding the person who is recovering from an addiction that they deserve to heal and recover is essential. Many people in recovery can find themselves worrying about their family, job, and bills.
Although these worries are usual, it easy to fixate on things outside of themselves when they should be concerned with their well-being and treatment plan. The time they spend at the rehab facility should be spent wisely, and focusing on themselves can lead to significant insights, self-awareness, and breakthroughs.
“Try to take things a day at a time.”
The process of recovery can seem overwhelming to a person who is just starting on this path. Not only do they have to go through the unpleasant withdrawal symptoms when stopping substance use and the mental obstacles that come with it, but they also have to start thinking about life outside of rehab. Encourage your loved one to not focus on what they have to accomplish in the future but to be proud of what they have done today.
“What have you learned in treatment so far?”
Asking about what they have learned in their experience shows that you are interested in their growth during their recovery. Not only does it show that you care, but you are also giving your friend or family member the space to talk about what they have going through their head.
“Now that you are in recovery, what are some of your goals for the future?”
Reminding your recovering loved one of a healthy future outside of the rehab facility could help encourage them to finish their treatment program looking forward to a new life. Remind them that it is their chance to learn healthy habits to implement when they are out of the facility. There are endless possibilities on what their life can look like after rehab, and everything they wanted to do in the past is still within reach.
Now You Have Some Examples of Encouraging Words for Someone in Rehab
It is common not to know exactly what to say when a loved one goes to rehab. This is a moment in their life where they can feel vulnerable, anxious, and stressed, and it is of the utmost importance to be kind and supportive.
Not only is it essential for the person in recovery to have support from friends and family, but it is also crucial for them to feel comfortable and cared for in their treatment facility. Finishing their treatment program lessens the likelihood of relapse in the future. Sending your loved one struggling with addiction to Harmony Place can not only save their life, but it can also put them on the fast track to living a healthy and happy life. Contact us today.