Words of encouragement for recovering addicts

This site has received several hits from readers who used the search terms “encouragement for recovering addict,” and “words for recovering addicts.”

Even though none has left a comment or asked a question, I sense a need for something within them. I know this need well because I went through a long period of time “lurking” on the internet, using search terms like “suicide of a loved one,” and similar phrases. My need was and remains great because my loved one was also a life-long drinker. In her time, there were no rehab facilities, no counselors, no follow-ups, nothing. People were merely drunks, sluts, trash, relegated to the heap of worthless humans, the dregs of society, castaways. My loved one received no help from anyone, not even her family. I am ashamed of my failure to offer her any words of love or encouragement. One day, she ended her own life.

If you are someone who looks back with guilt and regret for words never said, you are not alone. Like all others who share your feelings, you are not to be condemned for holding those feelings. They are natural. Some day you may understand this. For me, I now understand that my loved one’s decision was hers and hers alone. I also understand that my words would have changed nothing in all probability. Her addiction and her isolation were too long lasting for a quick and easy reversal of her suicidal thoughts. Perhaps one person’s words would have had no appreciable effect, but many from many different people may conceivably have given her hope. I still believe this.

My thoughts and my ideas came too late for her, but I have decided finally to offer words of encouragement to any and all recovering addicts I become aware of. For the time being, I have chosen this venue. I may expand my efforts later. Only time will tell. But if I can have a positive effect on one, just one, recovering addict, I will consider myself a success.

For recovering addicts: I know with certainty that someone cares about you and your life. You may believe otherwise but someone always cares about an addict they love.The problem sometime is in the mind of the addict. You may be convinced otherwise for any number of reasons, paramount of which is the hesitance of a loved one to speak his or her words of love and care and concern to you. Many people have a hard time revealing their emotions. Take my word for it, they do love you and they are devastated at their inability to help you. Please try to understand them. By understanding them, you may help yourself.

For the loved ones of addicts and recovering addicts: Your loved one needs your love and support more than you realize. Overcome your resistance to saying those simple words, “I love you.” Those three words may mean the difference between life and death. But more, be available when your loved one wants to talk or just wants someone in their presence. Addicts are very lonely and very frightened people. If they know someone is available, they may not take that fateful step. If you are alert to the moods and needs of your loved one, you will soon be able to recognize when they want and need someone near. Remember, they need you, but do not enable their addiction. Offer only your presence and your love and your support.

Explore posts in the same categories: Addiction, Alcoholism, Encouraging, Helping, Surviving

35 Comments on “Words of encouragement for recovering addicts”

  1. Martha Haynie Says:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement… I met my friend right after she began her journey to recovery and she has remaind clean for the entire time I’ve know her (almost 20 years) until now. We were very close for many years and lost touch around 2-3 years ago. I did not know her as a user and am not around her at all anymore.

    She found out that she has breast cancer about 3 months ago and has had a double mastectmy. I didn’t even know she was going through this until after the fact. I attended a benefit for her and she openly admited that she is drinking/using again. She mocked and lauched at herself for trying to stay healthy for all of those years only to end up with cancer.

    Again, because I am not around her I have no idea the extent of her use. But I do know that in addition to the cancer, she has been on medication (in the past- don’t know about now) for bipolar disorder as well currently having major financial problems. Anyway, I am about to send her a Serenity Bible and wanted to send her a note. I know it seems silly to think that I don’t know what to say, but I don’t. She does have a wonderful husband; however, I don’t know if she has a relationship with the Lord. And, I don’t know how much support she has from her family if any. Her mother has a lot of emotional problems herself.

    Anyway, thank you again for your words of encouragement and for stating the obvious -which it to let her know that I love her and am there for her, am praying for her and want to help. God Bless you and your efforts to help those who want to help others.
    Martha H.

  2. cyclopic Says:

    martha, i can’t tell you how much i appreciate your comments today. just as I try to encourage others to stay the course, you have encouraged me in my efforts. i think words of encoyragement are not just for addicts but also for those who love them. I understand well your friend’s rejection of her own good efforts at recovery only to be met with a catastrophic illness. we have a friend whose wonderful father was just killed in an accident. she is devestated and is questioning her life. I can’t blame her for that at all. We can ony continue to love her and encourage her, as you are doing for your friend.

    Thank you very much,


  3. Jenn Says:

    Thank you…

  4. cyclopic Says:

    Jenn, let me say thank you, too. Your two simple words made my day.


  5. Jan Says:

    I was searching on this site because my sister in law has had an alcohol problem for many years and is now in a rehabilitaion center. I was hoping to read words of encourgement I could send to her in a card. It’s so hard to know what to say. Jan

  6. cyclopic Says:

    Hi, Jan, thanks for your message. I share your concern for your loved one, and I sincerely wish her the best in her recovery.

    Yes, it is hard to know what to say that will adequately convey your love for her and your wisher for her future. Everyone is an individual who responds in his or her own way. I have sent words of encouragement to addicts but the ultimate effect on them can never be known with certainty.

    It’s my own belief that addicts need reassurance because they carry a heavy load of guilt for their past actions. They need to know that we accept them uncritically, warts and all, and that we will always support and love them. Sometimes, simple words are the best.

    It’s also important for you as someone who truly loves her to not feel guilty because of your own perceived acts or failure to act. I say perceived because we are not responsible for the addictions of others. Addiction is a powerful force against which the addict has a difficult time overcoming. We did not cause the addiction or contribute to it.

    In the final analysis, we can only write what our hearts tell us. If we do that, our loved one will know because our love and sincerity will leap from the page. And our love is best phrased in our own words and in our own way. The words of others can never convey your heart. Say it with your heart upfront and she will know it and be elated.

    Good luck to you and your loved one.


  7. Alpin Says:

    My daughter is 19 she is in a rehab clinic for an addiction to oxy cotin, herion, etc. etc… She started using when she was 15\16. The journey through this has been one of the most painful and heart breaking roads I’ve ever had to walk. When she was still out there using the main messege I would send to her is that I have faith in her, hope for her, love for her and that when she was ready for help we where there for her. There were times when my only words of insiration were(“you are causing such harm to yourself and your family that we have to detach with love until you are ready to get well,I love you”). She is now in treatment, she is safe, she is working towards recovery, and being well. I tell her to just focus on that for now. Occasionally I will point out doors or windows to the future, then let her know its up to her which onse she chooses to open. Mostly I tell her how much I love her, how wonderous she, that I believe in her, those sort of things. I also find storie’s, words of inspiration, and wisdom from books and daily readers that I send to her (when I do this I usually start with “I just read something I wanted to share with you). I also put the word out to all our family to do the same. I believe the more faith, hope, and love she gets and hears the better. Someone once told me the opposite of fear is faith. Another someone told me was as long as she was alive there’s hope. I believe in miracles, she is living proof. These are some of the things I tell her. I let her know she is the best because she is the best at who she is, there is only one of her in this whole world. She is unique but not terminally, she is not alone. Thank you for this sight it has helped me to be able to share. I hope my share helps others, Alps

    • cyclopic Says:

      Hello, Alpin. This is a powerful tale of the power of words and of persistence. My heart is with you and your daughter. Thank you for sharing the story of your struggle. cyclopic

  8. mary Says:

    Very well stated… I was searching for “words of encouragement” for my brother who is in rehab, struggling with drug addiction and suicidal thoughts. Thank you for sharing your words of wisdom and inspirational thoughts. I can only hope we ALL are able to express love to those feeling hopeless… who knows, it may plant a tiny seed of hope in their hearts and minds! Thanks again and blessings to you in your life.

  9. cyclopic Says:

    Hello, Mary, thanks for yout kind words. I firmly believe that the key to recovery lies with the family of the addict. I hope and pray that your brother is successful in his search for recovery. Your care and concern are not lost on him. That’s why it’s important to always aid him in a positive way. Good luck. cyclopic

  10. Linda Richnavsky Says:

    I have a 25 year old daughter who has suffered from drug addiction. she is currently sober for 9 months. She has been released from her programs with no help as far as housing, employment etc, I have guardianship of her 7 year old son and therefore she cannot reside with me. She has burned many bridges over the past few years leaving herself homeless, with no transportation and no money. She is doing well and I fear that relapsing and going to jail may be her only way off the streets. We live in Ct and it is currently far too cold for her to be homeless. All shelters are full and no one seems to be able to help us. I am begging for guidance for her. I await your response. Sincerely Linda

  11. cyclopic Says:

    hello Linda, such a heartbreaking situation. I wish I could offer
    something concrete. I don’t know anything about Delaware. I do know
    that San Francisco and Honolulu are noted for their programs to help
    recovering and homeless addicts. I realize this may be beyond your
    resources to send your daughter there. But if she has to be homeless,
    the climates are not harsh. But like all homeless, she would be in
    daily contact with users and may eventually relapse no matter how much
    she wishes not to. This is a dilemma for you, I know. All I can offer
    at the present, is persistence on your part is essential for a
    solution. Please don’t hesitate to ask questions of me. That’s about
    all I have to offer except to say that I am not a psychologist or
    professional of any kind and can only speak from my own experiences.


    p.s. are on facebook? There are some good self-help groups there.

  12. Em Says:

    Words do mean a lot. In my healing from sexual abuse i was so isolate.No one wanted/wants to talk about it. I have been intensly suicidal because of this lack of concern.Now that my brother is recovering from drug and alcohol abuse i strive to talk to him often and just be there to listen to him. I never want him or anyone else to feel the pain of being rejected for their feelings and for what has happened to them. Never underestimate the power of listening and showing genuinine interest.

  13. cyclopic Says:

    Hello, Em, thanks for your comment. I understand isolation. It’s a form of hell. I pray that you no longer have suicidal thoughts. You are to be commended for helping your brother.


    • beth Says:

      Help!!I cant stay cleanI had 4 years and relapsed.The last two years hve been hell. Raped ,car wrecks,pysically abused,two trips to the hosp.skull frature,stitches,4 trips to detox,one to the physc ward.I have hurt people ,they are tired,so am I. My n.a. friends have given up on me,I guess I dont blame them> I hurt soooo bad I feel like dissapearing I cant I have tried. God help me. I have so much to be grateful for. I have a beautiful daughter in nursing school.How she ended up sooo awesome is beyond me. I cant give up or give in.God give me strength.


  14. cyclopic Says:

    Hello, Beth. What a tragic and touching story. Clean for four years and then relapse. It isn’t unusual to have several false starts before you are finally clean. Do you remember when, where, why, and how you relapsed? Have you tried to find a clue in it? What triggers might have motivated you? Maybe you have already looked for answers. Sometimes, it helps to go over and over the relapse. It’s worth a try. You have a wonderful daughter. I would not be surprised if her reason for becoming a nurse is to help you. I am not a professional counselor, so don’t accept my words as the words of an expert. I speak merely from my own experience, hoping that somewhere in what I say, someone else will find something positive. Be persistent, keep on trying. Those who love you need you. cyclopic

    • beth Says:

      clean today!! thanks for words of encouragement. i will never let this disease beat me. to all who have loved ones in the grips,please dont stop loving them,no matter how unlovable, this is a disease.we are sick people ,not bad people.

  15. mindy Says:

    Hi my name is Mindy and i have been with my fiance for 19 years now we are young 31 and 34. We have 3 kids together he was an alcoholic for years since i meet him he got sober 3 months after my last son was born 4 years ago! We have had a ruff life together he was a bad angry alcoholic…I am so glad he finally quit and surprising just on his own..there was threat i would leave also. About 1 year after he quit he started taking oxys by that time we were really stressed out my son was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had to have it removed he was only 2. As time went by he started taking more and more and more then 6 months ago dicided to start drinking again. So then he was high as a kite on pills and drunk that was not a good mixture. He has woken up yet again and dicided this was his time to get help he realized the pills were killing him so he went to a methadone clinic and started right away to get clean. He is doing good clean from the drinking and oxy’s are all out of his system. I have 1 problem now he says i am not giving no support at all I do give him my best but it just does not seem good enough for him. Like i said i do have 3 kids that require alot of my time….As he does! There is a time period between school 4 and 8 bed time that i need to fit everything together myself and it is stressful i just do not think he understands my situation either as i do everything for and with the kids he does none. So thats what i mean i try to give it my all for everyone but i can not give his the 3 hours at night to watch t.v with him. Any help?

  16. HELL Express Says:

    be strong commitment, so betta able to perfect person

  17. Joey Says:

    Just wanted to say I am a recovering compulsive gambler, I will be using your words tonight in our weekly class.

  18. auntybop Says:

    so sad ,so tired, please, no money,all games ,cons etc tapped out. most importantly,my daughter ,who countinues to struggle and strive despite her adversity cant catch a break. she needs help to continue her nursing ed. at fdu they ran out of money. Im back on relapse hell trying to find rehab money for myself. god ,if anyone deserver help its Hannah. she has puled thru the most adverse shit you could imagine.

    • cyclopic Says:

      I am sincerely sorry about your and your daughter’s conditions. If I were able to help you, I would. Unfortunately, all I have to offer are words. I urge you to stick to your recovery efforts. Someday, your efforts will bear fruit and you’ll be happy that you didn’t give up. You must also continue to love and encourage your daughter. She needs both of these and more in her journey. Good luck. cyclopic

  19. Carol Says:

    Your words were meant a lot to me. My daughter is in rehab now and each of your words encouragementfor all concerned touched me. Thank you.

  20. cyclopic Says:

    Hello, Carol, thanks for your thoughts. I am happy that my words are are of small help. You made my day. cy

  21. Donna Says:

    My became a “big sister” to a young girl when she was 14 and she is now 23. We have always been extremely close. The chaos and hurts lately because of the addiction have meant I have had to distance myself or be a punching bag. I haven’t been able to trust her for a long time. I know it is the desparation for drugs that caused all the situations that happened. She has been in methadone treatment for only a day and is reaching out to me. I have been there every other time she has said she is getting help. Now, I want to support her, but the damage to our relationship has been great. She has few family supports, as she has burnt all her bridges when using. I don’t think she is done using either. How do I support her but still protect myself, my home, my finances, and my heart?! Any advice would be appreciated. Thank you so much!

    • cyclopic Says:

      Hello, Donna. I am sorry to hear about the troubles of your friend. I understand how you would want to help her even though she has hurt you somehow in the past. I wish I could offer you some advice but I am not a trained advisor or analyst of any kind. About all I can suggest is that you consult with a professional in the field. Good luck to both you and your friend. Sorry I cannot be of more help. Cy

  22. Tresi Walker Says:

    I am picking up my son tomorrow morning from a 10 day detox-rehab program. I am very afraid for him. He was told in there that his chances of staying clean are slim to none. He is also returning to an alcoholic father. I was searching the web this morning in search of words of encouragement i can print and hang in plain sight of him. something he can focus on when he feels weak. Anyway I came across this and hope it will be of help to some others.
    EMPOWERMENT: “There is no disease of addiction, addiction is a habit that you have chosen. Therefore you have the power to change this habit no matter how deep-seated you may think it is.” I think they need to change the way they are treating people with addictions, they are setting them up for failure before they are released. I love my son and want only success for him. If any of you have any suggestions or words of encouragement I can share with him I’d appreciate hearing from you.

  23. Marvi Says:

    I am married to an alcoholic and I have a son who is a drug addict… My husband has been clean for almost 14 years and my son for 5, but sometimes, like now, reading these comments, I still feel the pain of those long, heartbreaking, overwhelming years…
    My advise to all the relatives of addicts is to join support groups like AlAnon and NarAnon. I have never been a gregarious person and I struggled to get myself to go to the first meeting… but once I started going, I realized that I finally was understood and that I was not alone. I learned about the disease and how to deal with it. I also learned the “language” of addiction and recovery. That way, I could communicate again with my addicts.
    I got stronger in MY recovery and changed my attitude towards my husband and son. My change was the catalyst to a change in them!
    It was a very bumpy, long road, but we traveled it together and… we still do!
    Do not give up hope!
    All I can say is that miracles happen! Two happened in my life!

  24. Hello everyone! I just want to let you all know that we do recover! I am 5 years clean! I’ve been out of prison for 3 and a half years. Life is very beautiful! My daughter is now in recovery with me! I am working in a treatment center, helping other addicts through recovery, and speak to others whenever possible. I also have a support group on facebook that I started , that now has 292 members. I love life! I have a strong faith in God, and go to NA meetings several times a week. I also sponsor other addicts through the NA program. If you’re looking for the right words for a family member in recovery, the words are in your hearts. Speak from the heart! Love and encourage them! Praise them for their accomplishments, and don’t be afraid to speak your mind when they stumble. Always remember recovery is not about just stopping the drug use. It’s about changing the way we think and react. It’s about learning a new way of life. The 12 steps changed my life forever! Much love to all of you! Sheila Griffen

  25. Maynard Says:

    Highly descriptive blog, I loved that a lot.

    Will there be a part 2?

  26. ash Says:

    My boyfriend is a recovering alcoholic. He gets in these moods where he is in his head over-analyzing things such as if im being honest or not. I have no reason to lie to him. He also has those lonely feelings. His sobriety is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT TO ME! he talks to me about those thoughts, his sobriety, and when he feels like drinking. He also thinks I dont understand. I understand what he is saying sometimes I dont know what to say because I may understand what he is saying but I dont know what he is going through. I am very supportive and encouraging but I do not enable him. Do u have any advice to help me out with what to say when he has those thoughts or needs words of encouragement and safety??

  27. danielle Says:

    Ilove the encouraging words. I need more of that so I can tell my addict thes words
    I thank you for your sites

  28. Roxanne Baldwin Says:

    It’s very admirable that you are sharing your personal experience to help others. It is not only helpful to the addict, but also to the person supporting him / her.

    I’m currently helping my partner to overcome a drug addiction to cannabis and cocaine, I think its easy for the people supporting the addict to be overlooked in some ways, as it is the support system available to the addict that is key to a healthy recovery, and I think they deserve a lot of support for it. It can be pretty hard going! To feel responsible for another person such as a child can be stressful, but to be responsible for someone on self destruct makes you feel somewhat like you’re fighting a losing battle at times!

    But throughout it all not only do you have to be strong for yourself, you have to be strong for them too! And like it or not in the early stages its YOUR strength that they come to rely on, as they have none of their own. It’s a lot of pressure, you don’t get the gratitude you deserve for what you’re doing, yet you have to constantly encourage and support them when you don’t get any of it back until much later!

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