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Avoid These Topics when Talking with an Individual in Recovery

You hear that your coworker, friend or family member just got out of rehab—now what?  Of course you have questions, and of course you probably want to break the ice and talk, but are there touchy subjects to avoid? Absolutely!

It is hard to gauge what to say when a loved one or coworker is recovering from an addiction. Oftentimes, the wrong thing will cause the recovering addict to feel uncomfortable and self-conscious. An individual should never say these five things to someone in recovery.

Was it Really “That” Bad?

Avoid These Topics

Unless you’ve experienced addiction personally, don’t try to relate to the person’s situation.

When an individual faces an addiction, it will bring them into the darkest places many have ever been in their lives. He or she may be unrecognizable when they are using, which is why loved ones should avoid asking what it was like to be addicted.

Many addicts do not want to go back to that time in their lives, so it is not a good idea to ask them to look back on their addiction even if it is just out of genuine curiosity.

It is important to let the recovering individual open up about their experiences in their own time and not to push until they are ready to talk about it.

I Remember when I…

Many try to relate the addiction to something that they like to do all the time in order to ease any tension between them and the recovering addict. While this may seem comforting or in some cases funny, it can come off as the individual not grasping the severity of the situation and the reality of the addiction.

People who suffer from addiction can lose their marriages, children, jobs, and more. It is important to remember that unless the loved one has experienced a real addiction, there is no way to relate to the situation and it is far better to offer support than relation when talking to a recovering addict.

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How about One More?

Just because an addict has gained sobriety does not mean that they can have one drink or drug use and be okay like everybody else. When a sober person says they will just have one, they are more likely to have just one but for a recovering addict, “one” can cause them to relapse back into their addiction.

When they become sober, they are making a life-long decision to live a clean and sober life. Asking if they can use or drink one more time could give them the excuse they need to relapse instead of continuing to learn how to live a clean and better life.

For more information about addiction recovery, or for help finding a treatment center for yourself or a loved one, call 800-721-8114.

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