10 Tips and Pointers For Significant Others

A few common themes that can help and support the process of recovery.


1. No one suffering with an addiction enjoys, chooses, or wants to be in the place

they are. Still, change does not happen overnight. It takes time for the

individual to genuinely overcome denial and believe they want recovery.

2. Feeling judged is one of the hardest emotions to overcome in recovery.

Recognise that social stigma and public attitudes around addiction can prevent

or delay a loved one asking for support.

“Don’t be part of the Problem, be part of the



4. Personalities can appear as if a ‘Jekyll and Hyde’ character. Promises of change

are not always followed through. Language and behaviour can seem

conflicting, avoidant, or aggressive. This is the defence mechanism of denial,

used to protect against reality, which feels too painful at the time. to confront.

“We don’t choose to be addicted;

we choose to deny our pain.”


5. Avoid trust destroyers of nagging, criticising, or lecturing. Research shows

that focusing on shame or guilt is the most unhelpful way to motivate change.

The sufferer can feel unworthy of love or treatment.

6. Avoid trying to control or take responsibility for the situation, or make empty

threats, this can put further pressure on relationships. Instead, clearly explain

your personal boundaries. speak using 'I' statements instead of 'you'


7. If you choose to leave a situation, explain it is not your loved one but their

‘drinking behaviour’ you are removing yourself from.

8. Take an empathetic stance, by looking at your own drinking, are there times

when you have relied on alcohol to cope in a situation or used it to ease

tension or an anxiety?

9. Speak with honesty and compassion. Keep conversations future focused and

positive. Check your message has been heard correctly.

“Love and care shown by a parent, partner, or friend

does not necessarily translate, into an experience of

love and care, felt by the addict”


10. Only when the addict feels personally defeated by the consequences of their

drinking will they ask for support and commit to recovery. Protecting or

making excuses for your loved one is enabling their behaviour and preventing

or delaying change. Try not to get caught up in the addict’s denial game.

“Once the enabling stops,

the recovery is given the opportunity to start.”


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