Supporting a Loved One Through Substance Use

Supporting a Loved One Through Substance Use

If someone you love has Substance Use Disorder, you’re probably experiencing a variety of emotions. Confusion, concern, and heartbreak are all a normal part of supporting a friend or family member through SUD. Though challenging, your support is useful and necessary, and will provide a greater chance of recovery for the person you love.

What to do:

It’s important to build trust with your loved one, and remind them that you’re on their team. Even though you can’t force them to quit using substances, you can be a patient, consistent source of strength in their journey.

What to avoid:

Don’t threaten your loved one, or give them a strict timeline to overcome their SUD. Quitting is not a quick, easy choice… it’s ongoing. Your loved one may not seem like themselves, but it’s important to remember not to criticize them or add to the shame they are already feeling.


Supporting yourself

If you are going to be strong for your loved one, you have to take care of yourself. You do not have to face your loved one’s substance use alone. Consider joining a local focal group to connect with other people who have been in your shoes, and understand the road ahead of you. Remember that education is power. Understanding substance use is the first step to having your loved one make it so manageable recovery.

The bottom line is that treatment can be effective. Encourage your friend or family member to talk to their doctor, and rely on the people who love them.