8 Ways to Support Someone in Recovery From Addiction During Lockdown

This Page was last reviewed and changed on July 29th, 2020

It can be difficult to know how best to help someone who is in recovery from addiction or is struggling with a mental illness. You may not know what to say or worry that what you say might make the situation worse. But the fact that you care and are willing to support them while they engage with appropriate help means you have already taken the most important step. Here are 8 things you can do to offer further support.

Check in and let them know that you care

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Addiction is linked to a sense of disconnection with friends, family, and community, so prioritising connecting with those who are in recovery is a powerful way of helping them to stay strong, and stay in recovery.

Video calling platforms (such as Skype, Zoom, or Google Hangouts) are a great way to connect with your loved ones and share how you are feeling without breaking social distancing guidelines. And of course, a phone call will go a long way.

Educate yourself on available treatments and support groups

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Face-to-face support groups have now closed but many of those services have moved online. This means that your loved one can continue their recovery programme from the safety of their home. Peer-led communities and recovery meetings can offer a sense of community and connection.

They can be accessed here.

Don’t pressure them into talking

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Be patient and understanding with their process. Sometimes your loved one may need to talk it out but at other times being in recovery and talking about what we are going through can be tough.

So simply checking in, letting them know you are there, and that you care without putting any pressure on them can really help massively.

Encourage them to look after their physical health

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Looking after your physical health has an enormous impact on how we feel, so taking care of your body is just as important as taking care of your mind.

It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns during lockdown but this can end up making you feel worse, so encourage your loved one to eat healthily and to take daily exercise where possible.

Check that they are taking their prescribed medication

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This is particularly important if someone is self-isolating because they may need support in collecting their medication – is that something you could help with?

Many people in recovery have other co-occurring disorders. Having a dual diagnosis can complicate recovery, as they are battling more than just their addiction. If they have a physical or mental medical condition, they must take their medication as prescribed, or they will be at risk of relapse.

Be aware of their triggers

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Try to be aware when they are being triggered so you can offer extra support and keep them moving forward. This is a scary time for many of us so they may not cope with how out of control things are feeling or struggle to regulate their emotions.

Take care of yourself

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Recovery isn’t a perfect or linear process and having difficult times is perfectly normal. If you find it difficult to cope when they are struggling, or fear relapse, doing some self-care will give you some extra patience, tolerance, and ability to support the person who may be struggling with their recovery process.

Trying not to take things personally is difficult but reminding yourself that this isn’t directed at you makes it easier to empathise and understand.

Maintain social distancing

As important as supporting our loved ones through this time is, we must remember to practice social distancing for the physical health of ourselves and others.

Remember, there are plenty of resources out there to make sure we are taking care of ourselves mentally without putting our physical health in jeopardy. Take a look below for some inspiration.

Virtual meetings available in the UK

UKNA Online Meetings: https://ukna.org/online
Virtual NA: https://virtual-na.org/

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