Best friends are those individuals who are with us through the hard times and the great ones. While we may fight with them, they can also be as close as, or even closer than, family. What separates a good friend from a best friend is being there for some of the most uncomfortable periods of our lives. As part of National Best Friend Day, we would like to extend gratitude to all those who have stood by their best friends in addiction recovery. Chapters Capistrano would also like to offer a few tips for those who are unsure of how to handle their best friend’s addiction—and how to be supportive during this tough transition.

Why Best Friends Matter in Addiction Recovery

Before an individual chooses to seek help for his or her addiction, a loved one often will have to help one face the problem and recognize the need for recovery. While family members can be critical during this period, it can often result in anger and denial from the addict. Best friends, however, can sometimes paint the reality of the situation in a way that the addict will understand—making it easier for them to embrace the possibility of addiction recovery. From recognizing the issue—such as in intervention—to recovery to sobriety, best friends provide a crucial support system that many addicts will grow to appreciate.

Tips for Best Friends of Recovering Addicts

When you are the best friend of a recovering addict, it can be difficult to stay supportive—especially if hurtful words or actions come into play. Some may find that the addiction is the breaking point of the relationship; however, it is critical to understand that a best friend’s support will prove instrumental to a loved one’s recovery. Here are a few ways to make the process easier for both parties—and protect the friendship:

  • Consider Counseling

Addiction does not just hurt those who have abused substances; it can also have a negative impact on important relationships that the user has had. Through our Family Program, we have found that counseling is a great benefit to relatives of a recovering addict. In much the same way, counseling can be an exceptional way for best friends to acknowledge and recognize how their friend’s addiction has hurt them and move forward from that pain. With therapy, both the addict and the best friend can work through this tough time to lay the foundation for an even stronger relationship in the future.

  • Learn Relapse Warning Signs

Those who graduate from an addiction recovery program will often want to get on the fast track to independence. Some may even find that while the support of family members is a nice feeling, that caring nature can suffocate independence. Best friends are great for providing that care without interrupting one’s process for independence.

However, as recovering addicts work to maintain independence in sobriety, there is a high risk that they will relapse in the weeks, months or years following a recovery program. For this reason, best friends should make an effort to learn the warning signs that their loved one may slip back into substance abuse and how to prevent relapse from occurring.

  • Listen and Avoid Detachment

Things can feel awkward for recovering addicts and those in their life following treatment. While there are certainly many changes that may occur during this period, it is important for best friends to push through any uncomfortable feelings and not detach from their friend who may really need their support.

After a friend exits recovery, it is important to stay connected to them in a way that is not codependent, but still supportive. Asking questions without instigating or simply listening to a best friend’s daily struggles can be a great way to help break down the barriers that may be preventing your relationship from getting back on track. In addition, never be afraid to discuss your own challenges—many recovering addicts will love the chance to help you resolve your problems and provide support; such support may even help them think about other things other than their recovery.

  • Be Normal

After a friend exits an addiction recovery program it can feel like you have to walk on eggshells to avoid sensitive topics. Although it is often suggested that social activities avoid any substances, best friends are encouraged to remain as normal as possible—reclaiming the relationship that existed before addiction occurred. Simply put: be yourself and you can help your best friend readjust to sober life as comfortably as possible.

Finding An Addiction Recovery Solution That Best Friends Can Trust

If you are a best friend looking to help a loved one seek help from addiction, we encourage you to visit our comfortable on-site detox and flexible treatment solutions available at Chapters Capistrano. With our individualized approach to treatment, we ensure that loved ones of a recovering addict can be confident in one’s journey toward sobriety. In addition, Chapters Capistrano provides a cell- and laptop-friendly environment, so best friends never have to stay out of touch from those in recovery.

To learn more about our addiction recovery options, contact us today at 949-276-2886.

Medical disclaimer:

Chapters Capistrano strives to help people who are facing substance abuse, addiction, mental health disorders, or a combination of these conditions. It does this by providing compassionate care and evidence-based content that addresses health, treatment, and recovery.

Licensed medical professionals review material we publish on our site. The material is not a substitute for qualified medical diagnoses, treatment, or advice. It should not be used to replace the suggestions of your personal physician or other health care professionals.

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