Recovering from addiction is a long and complicated road. Those closest to those struggling towards freedom are often all too familiar with this truth.
Very often, we want to know how to encourage our loved ones in recovery, but it’s difficult to know what to say. We want to encourage them, but instead, there are painful and awkward silences.
It’s important to note that, most of the time, silences don’t need to be filled. They may be awkward, but it speaks volumes when a loving presence is simply willing to lean into the pain of silence. Choosing to be a listening ear can often be the most supportive action.
However, in the right moment, a word of encouragement can be a special way to share the loving heart of the Father. As Scripture tells us…
“Everyone enjoys a fitting reply; it is wonderful to say the right thing at the right time!” Proverbs 15:23
Here are five encouraging words that can be a rousing cheer, a refreshing drink, a loving anchor, and a life-giving breath. We encourage you to prayerfully consider the right time to share them to help encourage your loved one during their process of healing. And if you are someone struggling with addiction, we encourage you to say these things to yourself!
5 Words of Encouragement for Those Struggling with Addiction
1. “You’re worth saving, and it’s not too late to get help.”
A lifestyle of addiction comes with a slew of lies, starting with the lies that addiction tells the addict. Many addicts report feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness.
Because of the sacrifice of Jesus, however, we know that He calls us infinitely valuable and offers us hope beyond anything this world offers.
No matter what kinds of choices you may have made, you are worth saving.
No matter how long you’ve been struggling or how long others have labeled you by your addiction, it’s not too late to get help.
2. “I can see this is hard and painful. You have a lot of courage.”
It’s important to admit the difficulty and pain of recovery. Many of us have a tendency to cling to flowery recovery quotes because it’s easier than dealing with the grittiness of addiction.
While we should absolutely keep hope in front of our eyes, be careful not to put a silver lining on every difficult experience. Spinning every negative into a positive can actually be dismissive and unhelpful.
Instead, acknowledge the hardship and pain, adding that you see a deep courage inside someone who’s taking steps toward recovery.
3. “Don’t give up; I’m here for you.”
Recovery is a marathon that requires daily, even moment-to-moment, choices to persevere. Relapses can be devastating for both the addict and their loved ones. It’s crucial that you don’t give up.
Exodus 17 tells a story of great perseverance through physical pain and weariness. Joshua and the people of Israel had been attacked by the Amalekites, but as long as Moses held up his staff in his hands, the Israelites had the advantage. The battle went all day.
Of course, Moses’ arms grew so tired, he could no longer hold them up. “So Aaron and Hur found a stone for him to sit on. Then they stood on each side of Moses, holding up his hands. So his hands held steady until sunset. As a result, Joshua overwhelmed the army of Amalek in battle.”
The takeaway here is not only to persevere until you see the victory, but also to surround yourself with Godly influences, mentors, and supporters to help you through this journey.
If your loved one is in recovery, you can be that supporter.
4. “You’re not who you used to be.”
Acknowledging positive changes in yourself or your loved one can be deeply encouraging. Substance abuse and addiction have a powerful influence over our identity, so it’s helpful to point out that recovery really does bring change.
When you observe growth in the behavior of someone in recovery or you notice that old, self-defeating habits are being overcome, say something! It’s important to celebrate accomplishments big and small.
One day sober? Congratulations!” One year free? “Amazing!” On the road to recovery? “You’ve really changed!”
5. “Freedom is available in Jesus.”
Doubt about one’s freedom is always around the corner to steal sobriety away.
Recovery may be a lifelong process, but that doesn’t mean “once an addict, always an addict.”
True liberty is available in Jesus Christ. As 2 Corinthians 5:17 assures us, “Anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!”
To be clear, calling on the name of Jesus rarely brings instant deliverance from addiction, and deep-seated habits of destruction are not often simply “prayed away.” Nevertheless, we know that, in and of ourselves, we’re powerless against addiction and true freedom can only be found in His saving power.
We hope you’ll pray about these words of encouragement and partner with the Holy Spirit for the right time to say them. We believe that testimonies of Spirit-led inspiration are on the way.
“Encourage each other and build each other up, just as you are already doing.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11