People who have never suffered from addiction often believe that addiction is a choice, but the reality is addiction is a disease. Chemicals make their way to a user's brain and trick it into actually craving harmful substances. The more the drug is used, the more the user's brain wants it. A person who has an addiction is not "bad." They have an illness, and that illness requires care in order to keep it under control.

Having a loved one with an addiction is hard, but it is very important that people close to recovering addicts know how to help. Recovery is a process and having support is incredibly important. Some ways to support a recovering addict:

Be a good listener.

An addict needs to grieve the life they left behind. They can't just forget their previous lifestyle even if it was undesirable and harmful. They need to process the situation in their own way. When a recovering addict talks to you, make sure that you are really listening to what they are saying. Listen to what they are trying to communicate with you, be compassionate and don't judge them. 

Don't be an enabler.

There are many ways a person unintentionally enables a recovering addict. Don't ignore their negative or harmful behaviors and don't hold back your emotions just because you fear the reaction of the addict. When discussing the addiction, don't blame other people. Don't put their needs above your own, and don't tell lies to protect the addict. Even though you may think you are helping them by doing these "don'ts," you will inevitably set them back.

Be a good example and keep the environment substance-free.

Do your best to set a good example for the recovering addict. Keep healthy food around, exercise regularly, and don't have drugs and alcohol around. 

Go to meetings and see a counselor.

A recovering addict will participate in meetings with others in recovery. They may also continue to see a counselor. Support your friend or loved one by volunteering to accompany them to a meeting or a counseling session.

There are meetings specifically for friends and family of people in recovery. You may even want to consider speaking to a counselor yourself. They can help you work through your own feelings and give you some other suggestions on how you can handle your unique situation.

Recovering from an addiction is hard, but having supportive friends and family can be crucial to the process. You can support your loved one who is in recovery by listening, not enabling, setting a good example and joining them in counseling activities.

To learn more about drug addiction recovery, contact a recovery center in your area like Evergreen Recovery Centers.