What Steps Can I Take to Show My Friend With AUD the Best Support?

It can be hard to see a loved one go through the difficult phases of alcohol addiction and start their journey through treatment. Sometimes this can leave a person feeling worried about those they care about. They may even feel helpless and at a loss for what to do. Fortunately, there are several different ways to show a friend the best support while they are in treatment or early recovery for alcohol use disorder (AUD). Participating in group therapy at 12 South Recovery can be a great way to show support. Being a good influence outside of treatment while allowing space when needed can also be an effective way to show support.

What Is Alcohol Use Disorder?

As stated by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), AUD is a chronic disease that impacts an individual’s ability to stop drinking. When a person continues drinking despite strained relationships, problems in their workplace, and serious health complications, they may have severe AUD. AUD is much worse than addiction or mild dependence. This condition is considered to be a brain disorder. In AUD, alcohol has caused changes in one’s brain that can make him or her more vulnerable to relapse.

The severity of AUD does not impact one’s ability to respond to treatment, however. Various therapies, support groups, and medications can help a person with AUD achieve long-term sobriety.

Participating in Group Therapy to Show the Best Support While in Treatment

Seeking alcohol addiction treatment with 12 South Recovery or another facility can bring a whirlwind of emotions. Some people can also find it nerve-wracking to show up to Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) groups alone. One of the most effective ways to show a friend the best support is to simply be by their side in group therapy. First, be sure to ask the therapist if this is okay. Opening up and confiding in others requires great courage and confidence.

Group therapy can teach people with AUD new skills to stay sober. If a friend participates, this can ensure that they maintain healthy sobriety as well. What’s more, a friend may speak up for the recovering person if needed. They can even disclose things to the group together to gain helpful feedback from others.

Showing the Best Support While a Friend Is in Early Recovery

According to the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA), many individuals in early recovery from AUD find it to be their most vulnerable time. The VA provides an estimate that nearly 60% of individuals facing challenges with addiction maintain sobriety. Others may reenter treatment at some point.

It can be difficult to show a friend the best support in early recovery. Taking just a few of the right steps can show the best support and prevent relapse or potential overdose. A few different ways to show the best support may include:

  • Showing patience
  • Planning sober activities together
  • Providing emotional support
  • Checking in on their mental state
  • Limiting alcohol exposure

Things to Avoid

There are a few things to consider when attempting to show a loved one the best support. Some people may be overbearing and fail to respect boundaries when trying to be there for a friend with AUD. A few tips on boundaries include the following:

  • Try to avoid judgment. If it is difficult to come up with the right things to say, take time to think a good response over before reacting.
  • Try not to offer advice if it is not asked for. At times, people want to give all of the unsolicited advice they can with the full intention to solve their loved one’s problems. However, this may not be the best time to do so.
  • Try not to seem accusatory when asking questions. It can be helpful to comfort a friend with AUD by letting that person know that mistakes do happen. Staying honest about mistakes can open up the door for positive guidance.

Moving Forward

Sometimes if a friend is having a difficult time with addiction and co-occurring mental health conditions, one of the hardest things to do is allow them space. This space can often result in growing apart, and that is okay. When an individual faces a hardship in life, it can change that person for better or worse.

A person often has to start over entirely when treatment has been completed. This may involve making new friendships, mending old relationships, finding new employment, and taking extra time for self-care. It is important to not take their absence personally. Early recovery can be a very busy time in one’s life. When all is taken care of, the friendship may rekindle. It is best to let a loved one know support is available if needed.

In the meantime, simply trust that a loved one is staying dedicated to long-term sobriety. If worry surfaces, check in on occasion without stepping over boundaries. This can bring both parties comfort during treatment or early recovery.

It can be difficult to show a friend with alcohol use disorder (AUD) the best support during treatment or early recovery. Oftentimes, if a person doesn’t understand that boundaries are important, this can lead to a failed relationship. As a licensed and Joint Commission-accredited mental health treatment center, 12 South Recovery provides an experienced team that offers support for achieving sobriety and mental health goals. We understand that AUD is a cognitive disease that affects behavior, personality, and priorities. Our family and group therapy services can give individuals the opportunity to meet together under the guidance of one or more trained therapists to help one another. If you’re worried, call us at (888) 830-8374 to learn more about our services. 

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