What Recovering Addicts Need from Loved Ones

mother and daughter

Do you have a friend or family member who is currently undergoing recovery from addiction? If so, your loved one has a great many emotional and/or spiritual needs to be filled, and for some of these needs, it is best for a friend or family member to be there to fill them. Here are some of the greatest needs that your loved one will have as a recovering addict, along with what you can do to fill those needs.

Someone to communicate with

If your loved one is undergoing in-patient treatment for addiction at a facility, they will need your support in the form of phone calls, letters, care packages, and/or in-person visits, depending, of course, on what the facility allows. Your loved one likely feels isolated and needs you to help keep those lines of communication open.

Unconditional love

Many recovering addicts feel criminalized or stigmatized once their addictions are out in the open, leading them to feeling unloved or unworthy of respect. It’s important let your loved one know that you love him or her unconditionally, regardless of shortcomings and weaknesses. Help your loved one to feel loved at a time when self-esteem levels are especially low.

Affirmations of strengths

A recovering addict can also easily lose motivation to keep progressing through recovery, often due to negative self-talk. Remind your loved one of what their strengths are, and help them to remember that they are stronger than what their thoughts and emotions often let on.


As your loved one begins life post-treatment, they could also benefit from having something (or someone) to hold him or her accountable for staying sober. This will give your loved one purpose as they navigate recovery. While of course it’s important not to put too much pressure on your loved one or to overload them with responsibilities—both of which could cause relapse-inducing levels of stress—there are several things that you can do to help your loved one have something to wake up for in the morning. Is there some form of employment that you can extend to your loved one? Consider giving your loved one that opportunity to work. Or, you might invite your loved one to join in with you on a regular exercise routine throughout the week. Invite your loved one to do something that will help them find purpose while overcoming addiction.