The #1 Most Important Thing to Do to Help a Recovering Addict
Figuring out how to help a recovering addict can be a daunting task. Where do you start? What do you say? Will the situation ever change?
The truth is that there are many people who have helped their loved ones to recover and are now enjoying a better life with them. So, what can you do to help? Let’s explore the #1 most important thing you can do to get involved and get results.
Introduce Them to a New Social Circle
Our social circle is basically the places we go and the people we associate with. And we tend to find the people and places that are most like us, the ones we are comfortable with. Thus, addicts tend to form friendships with other users and frequent the same places as those users. So, overcoming an addiction is not just about no longer using or drinking. It is about revamping the entire social circle. But how does an addict just drop all of that and make new associations? In most cases, (s)he doesn’t. And that’s where you come in.
Now, we’re not saying the addict has to take on your social circle, go to the places you go to, and become friends with your friends. In most cases, in fact, this is not even practical. However, you can go beyond yourself and find new friends, new places, for your loved one. You can then serve as the bridge between where the person currently is and where (s)he could be.
This will not be easy, but it is possible. And, more importantly, it is powerful. In almost all cases, the addict knows nothing else. The friends (s)he has are the only friends. The places (s)he goes are the only places in his or her world. So, you need to create a new world that is both appealing and inviting to the one you love.
Let’s explore both aspects together.
If the new social circle you help your loved one to establish doesn’t appeal to him or her, then it will not work. It is natural to seek what we like, what we think we’d enjoy. But in this situation, it is important to find what works best for the other person.
So, for example, what activities or hobbies did the person enjoy and engage in before developing the addiction? Did (s)he play baseball, workout, or read? If baseball, then take the person to a game. Join a team with him or her and play alongside of your loved one, even if it doesn’t particularly interest you. The goal is to help the person to establish a new social circle that is appealing to what (s)he naturally likes.
The other important part of the social circle you actively seek to help the recovering addict to establish is that it be inviting. In other words, will the group welcome him or her easily and quickly. Both of those aspects are important. For example, taking the scenario from above about the baseball team, if you tell the recovering addict to join the Major Leagues and play for the Braves, you won’t do much good. Why? Because that is not easy to join and doing so would not be a quick process. However, signing up together at the local league that is free to join would be great. Why? Because it meets both criteria. There are minimal requirements to play, so it is easy to join. Additionally, (s)he can join today and be on a team by the end of this week, so it is quick.
Of course, joining a baseball team is just an example. The goal is to find a fit for the person you love who you are trying to help. That person desperately needs to change his or her social circle. But doing so is easier said than done. So, the goal is for you to help the person to find a new hobby or activity that will take him or her to new places. Something that will keep the person occupied and away from the old places (s)he frequented.
The goal is to connect the person with new people whose habits and hobbies will not tempt the recovering addict but will actually encourage the person to live in freedom.
To do that, you must push yourself into new territory. You must find something that appeal to the person and invites him or her to participate both easily and quickly.
And you will see that as the recovering addict’s social circle changes, so too will his or her life. Instead of living down to the old environment, (s)he will start living up to the new places and people in the social circle (s)he is now associated with.