How to Help Your Loved One Win in Recovery?

When your loved one chooses outpatient treatment, your job as their supporter is not finished. In fact, in many ways, your work is just beginning. When they come home, they will hopefully be focused on staying sober by any means necessary. To support them in that process, there are a number of things you can do, both for yourself and around the house, to create an environment that is conducive to their continued growth in recovery. Here are some of the most important ones.

Build Your Reinforcements

Family members are hit hard by a loved one’s addiction, and you will need to take the time when they are in treatment to actively engage in treatment yourself. Not only do you need to process past events and find some clarity, but you will also need a support system around you to help you continue to see things clearly when dealing with your loved one’s progress in treatment. You will also need to find your own sense of balance and peace to prepare for whatever may come.

Clean House

First, this means you will need to go through your house from top to bottom in order to find any and all drugs, alcohol, and related paraphernalia. You will need to clean your loved one’s room. Go through their belongings, their car, their desks and pockets, under and between mattresses, behind books on bookshelves – anywhere they may have hidden bottles, pills, and other drug paraphernalia.

You will also need to remove or lock up any of your own items that could be abused. Alcohol should be removed, and any prescription pills you are taking will need to be behind lock and key. It will also be a good idea to lock up – or change the locks on – safes for firearms and valuables, and perhaps move certain heirlooms to a bank deposit box. Your credit cards and checkbooks will need to be put away, as well as any reminders of incidents or people that were problematic during their active addiction (e.g., pictures of loved ones who have passed or mementos of lost jobs, etc.).

Anything you can do to “clean the slate” will help your loved one to avoid stumbling upon triggers at home.

Tap Treatment Services

Your loved one will have a lot of free time, especially in the beginning of recovery. You can help them to add positive structure, at least in the first few days, by connecting with different complementary treatment services that will augment their progress in outpatient rehab. Though they will have a heavy hand in choosing how to spend their time and what therapies resonate most with them and their needs, you can help them along by making sure you always have a 12-Step meeting schedule on hand and any referrals from the treatment program at the ready.

Educate Yourself

One of the most important things you can do to support your loved one is to educate yourself about addiction and recovery. There are many resources available online and in your community that can help you gain a better understanding of what your loved one is going through. Some great resources include:

  • The National Institute on Drug Abuse
  • The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
  • Alcoholics Anonymous
  • Narcotics Anonymous

By learning more about addiction and recovery, you can better understand what your loved one is experiencing and how you can best support them.

Be Supportive

Recovery is a difficult journey, and your loved one will need your support along the way. Be there to listen when they need to talk, and offer words of encouragement and affirmation. Let them know that you believe in them and that you're proud of them for working towards sobriety.

It's also important to set healthy boundaries. Don't enable their addiction by providing drugs or alcohol, and don't make excuses for their behavior. Instead, encourage them to take responsibility for their actions and to seek help when they need it.

Encourage Treatment

Recovery often requires professional treatment, whether that's through inpatient rehab, outpatient therapy, or medication-assisted treatment. Encourage your loved one to seek out the help they need and offer to support them in their treatment journey. Help them research treatment options, and offer to go with them to appointments or support group meetings.

Take Care of Yourself

Supporting someone in recovery can be emotionally taxing, so it's important to take care of yourself as well. Make sure you're getting enough rest, eating well, and taking time for self-care. Seek support from friends, family, or a therapist if you need it. Remember that you can't control your loved one's addiction or recovery, but you can control how you respond to it.

Avoiding Triggers

Triggers are people, places, things or situations that can cause a person in recovery to crave drugs or alcohol. It's important to identify and avoid triggers as much as possible, especially in the early stages of recovery when cravings may be more intense.

Some common triggers include:

  • People who use drugs or alcohol
  • Places where your loved one used to use drugs or drink
  • Negative emotions such as stress, anxiety, depression, and anger
  • Certain times of day or events such as holidays or parties

Help your loved one identify their triggers by having open and honest conversations with them. Once you know what their triggers are, work together to come up with a plan for avoiding them. This might mean avoiding certain people or places, finding healthy ways to cope with negative emotions, or simply being mindful of potential triggers and having a plan in place for managing cravings if they arise.

Remember that avoiding triggers is an ongoing process that takes time and effort. Be patient with your loved one and offer support as they learn how to navigate this aspect of their recovery journey.

The Role of Family Therapy in Addiction Recovery

Addiction is a complex disease that affects not only the individual struggling with it, but also their loved ones. Family therapy can play an important role in addiction recovery by helping to repair relationships, build stronger communication skills, and provide support for both the individual in recovery and their family members.

Family therapy can help family members understand addiction as a disease and not a choice. It can also help them identify ways they may have contributed to the problem unintentionally and work together to create a more supportive home environment.

During family therapy sessions, family members are encouraged to share their thoughts and feelings about the addiction and its impact on their lives. This open dialogue can help break down barriers and build trust between family members.

In addition, family therapy can help families learn how to communicate more effectively with each other. This is especially important during times of stress or conflict when effective communication is crucial for maintaining healthy relationships.

Overall, family therapy can be an invaluable tool for families dealing with addiction. By working together through the challenges of addiction recovery, families can build stronger bonds and create a more supportive environment for everyone involved.

The Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity During Recovery

Regular exercise and physical activity can be incredibly beneficial for individuals in recovery. Not only does exercise help improve physical health, but it can also have a positive impact on mental health.

Exercise has been shown to reduce stress, anxiety, and depression - all of which are common issues faced by individuals in recovery. It can also help boost self-esteem and confidence, which can be especially important during the early stages of recovery when individuals may be struggling with feelings of shame or guilt.

In addition, exercise can help reduce cravings for drugs or alcohol. When we exercise, our bodies release endorphins - natural chemicals that create feelings of pleasure and happiness. These endorphins can help individuals in recovery feel better without turning to drugs or alcohol.

There are many different types of exercise that can be beneficial during recovery. Some great options include:

  • Yoga: Yoga is a low-impact form of exercise that focuses on stretching, breathing, and relaxation. It's a great way to reduce stress and improve flexibility.
  • Cardiovascular exercise: Activities such as running, biking, or swimming can help improve cardiovascular health and boost mood.
  • Strength training: Lifting weights or using resistance bands can help build strength and increase muscle mass.

Encourage your loved one to incorporate regular physical activity into their daily routine. This could mean going for a walk after dinner each night or joining a local gym or fitness class. Whatever form of exercise they choose, remind them that consistency is key - even just a few minutes of activity each day can have significant benefits for their overall health and wellbeing.

Establishing Healthy Habits and Routines

Establishing healthy habits and routines can be an essential part of recovery. It's not uncommon for individuals in recovery to feel lost or uncertain about how to fill their time now that they're no longer using drugs or alcohol. By creating healthy habits and routines, individuals can give structure to their days and build a sense of purpose.

Some healthy habits and routines that can be beneficial during recovery include:

  • Getting enough sleep: Adequate rest is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. Encourage your loved one to aim for 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
  • Eating a balanced diet: Good nutrition is important for physical health as well as mental health. Encourage your loved one to eat a variety of fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and whole grains.
  • Practicing self-care: Self-care can take many forms, from taking a relaxing bath to reading a good book. Help your loved one identify activities that make them feel good and encourage them to prioritize self-care each day.
  • Building social support: Social support can be incredibly valuable during recovery. Encourage your loved one to connect with supportive friends or family members, attend support group meetings, or volunteer in the community.
  • Pursuing hobbies or interests: Finding new hobbies or rediscovering old ones can be a great way to fill free time during recovery. Encourage your loved one to explore different activities until they find something they enjoy.

By establishing healthy habits and routines, individuals in recovery can create a foundation for long-term success. It's important to remember that building these habits takes time - encourage your loved one to be patient with themselves as they work towards creating a healthier lifestyle.

Prepare for the Worst

Your loved one may relapse. There is no cure for addiction, and it is a chronic disease. Even if they do not relapse by using drugs or alcohol, they may manifest their addiction disorder through other behaviors, such as gambling, compulsive sex, or shopping. You cannot control the choices your loved one makes, but you can set boundaries and prepare yourself for the chance that those boundaries may be crossed. Decide in advance how you will respond. Should the worst happen, follow through and stick to choices that protect your mental and emotional health, no matter what your loved one decides to do going forward.

Hope for the Best

There is every chance that your loved one will thrive in recovery. They may stumble, have tough days, make choices that make you nervous, or otherwise put their recovery in jeopardy, but there is no reason to believe that they will not do the work necessary to build a strong, new life in sobriety.

You have to continue moving forward in your own life, separate from the choices that your loved one makes. It is important to avoid developing or continuing a codependent relationship, and instead to support them on a positive path forward as you take steps to create a life for yourself that you enjoy and that makes you feel safe and comfortable.


Supporting a loved one in recovery can be challenging, but it's also incredibly rewarding. By educating yourself, being supportive, encouraging treatment, and taking care of yourself, you can help your loved one win in recovery. Remember that recovery is a journey, and there may be setbacks along the way. But with your support, your loved one can overcome addiction and live a happy, healthy life.

How are you supporting your loved one in recovery? How are you working to regain your own sense of balance and peace?

Since joining the Townsend content team, Shlomo has become a thought leader in the addiction field. He is a Seinfeld junkie, a recovering Twitter fanatic, and a sports expert. He enjoys milk shakes and beautiful views from rooftops.