AskPETRA Families Recover Together

When Someone You Love Has SUD

Loving someone with SUD can be stressful, but it’s important to take care of your own health and wellbeing.

AskPETRA can help you prioritize your own health by understanding your journey and supporting you with information and guidance, providing no-cost recovery support for family and friends.

Supporting someone who is struggling with Substance Use Disorder (SUD) or Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) can be challenging. It’s not uncommon for someone with SUD to distance themselves from family and friends. But your support can be crucial to their path toward recovery.

Ways You Can Help Now

It’s important to understand that SUD and AUD are not a moral failing or a lack of willpower, they are diseases. Try to increase your understanding of the recovery process and the substance or behavior your loved one is struggling with. AskPETRA can guide you through this.

In addition, many people with SUD are also dealing with co-occurring disorders, such as mental health issues. There are numerous resources available that can provide treatment for multiple conditions.

SUPPORTING THEIR RECOVERY PATHWAYS: Encourage and support your loved one’s commitment to their own recovery pathway, which may include a treatment plan, and be open to their preferences. This could include attending meetings, going to therapy, taking prescribed medications, or anything that safely brings them joy in recovery.

ENCOURAGE HEALTHY HABITS: Support your loved one in developing healthy routines and habits, such as regular exercise, good sleep habits, healthy foods, and other wellness activities like yoga or meditation. Model self care for your loved one.

AVOID ENABLING BEHAVIORS: While it’s important to be there for your loved one, be careful not to enable their negative behaviors, SUD, or AUD. Enabling may include covering for them, giving them money that could be used for substances, or making excuses for their behavior.

SET BOUNDARIES: It’s important for you to protect your own mental and physical health. Make sure to set boundaries and stick to them. This might mean certain behaviors aren’t tolerated, or limiting the amount of time you spend discussing their needs and behaviors.

GET SUPPORT: Therapy can be beneficial, as can attending support groups for families and friends of people with SUD. These groups can provide valuable advice and support from people who understand what you’re going through.

ENCOURAGE RECOVERY: Encourage your loved one to stay in recovery by avoiding people, places, and things that may be triggering, like weddings, holidays, parties, etc. When these things can’t be avoided, you can help by being their “safe sober person”.

PRACTICE PATIENCE: Recovery can be a long and challenging journey with many ups and downs. Be patient and understand that setbacks and relapses are part of the process.

OFFER EMOTIONAL SUPPORT: Be there – and listen to your loved one without judgment. Express your love and concern for them and reassure them that recovery is possible.

STAY POSITIVE: Maintain a positive outlook for their recovery journey. Celebrate their successes, no matter how small they may seem.

Recovery is possible and families do recover together. Taking care of yourself sets a strong example for the person in your life that you are supporting.

Ask PETRA’s Free services include:

EDUCATION: Information on substance use disorder as a disease, supporting a loved one in recovery, understanding treatment options, access to naloxone and training, and understanding multiple pathways of recovery.

SUPPORT: One-on-one support with a Community Health Worker/Recovery Coach to learn how to take care of yourself and reduce enabling behaviors while still providing a strong foundation for your loved one.

ACCESS: Assistance and connection to resources that are designed to help you and your loved one.

EMPOWERMENT: Providing guidance, encouragement, and tools to help you through your own process.