Addiction is an illness, not a character flaw. Unfortunately, it's commonly criminalized and stigmatized in society, which leads to the addict facing a heap of trouble on top of the pain of actually overcoming the addiction. If you know someone in rehab, keep in mind that they may be facing the hardest battle that they will ever encounter, so showing them support at this time is the best way to show that you care.
Provide Positive Reinforcement
While all the nagging in the world won't make an addict get help, praising the positive choices that an addict makes for themselves can work wonders. Positive reinforcement can help motivate a recovering addict to continue on when the going gets tough. Some things you can say include:
- Way to go! It takes a lot of strength to kick the habit.
- I don't know what you're going through, but I respect the enormous strength it takes to look it in the eye and overcome it the way you're doing.
- You're doing great. Just keep taking it one day at a time.
- Keep going back for help. You're worth it.
- I'm not sure what the right thing to say is, but I want you to know that I love you and am proud of you.
Send Approved Care Packages
Send care packages to someone who is in rehab to cheer them up and offer encouragement. Always check with the rehab center in doubt about what to include. Some fun things to include in a care package include:
- Journals and notebooks - These are practical gifts that can be personalized to your loved one's preferences. Writing about one's feelings is a part of many rehab programs and a part of looking at the changes that are happening in one's life throughout the recovery process.
- Music player with inspirational tunes - Many songs have been written to provide inspiration to those who are going through a hard time. Include uplifting songs like "Learn to Love Yourself" by Olivia Newton-John, "Phenomenal Woman" by Amy Sky, and "Express Yourself" by Madonna.
- Luxurious pajamas - Wearing something special can help provide a simple joy.
- Favorite snacks - Including something they love to eat can cheer someone up.
- Notes and cards - When you go to send the package, include a card or note about how proud you are of their choice to work the program in rehab.
Finally, keep in mind that you cannot change someone who is in rehab. They have to want to stay the course and continue on their recovery. By offering support, but not enabling or excusing any relapses to past behaviors, you can be a source of strength for the former addict throughout their recovery.