Ways to Support People Recovering from Substance Abuse

A woman giving another woman a warm embrace during a therapy session
  • Show compassion and avoid judgment to create an accepting environment for those in recovery.
  • Offer emotional support by lending an ear and providing practical assistance such as rides, healthy meals, and introducing new activities. 
  • Provide support groups, therapists, online resources, and dental services to help those recovering from substance abuse. 
  • Create opportunities for fun activities that can help those recovering find a sense of purpose and relaxation. 

Substance abuse is a very real problem for many people in the community. The latest statistics show that in the past year, an estimated 7.74% of adults in America reported having a substance use disorder, with 2.97% reporting an illicit drug use disorder and 5.71% reporting an alcohol use disorder.

Despite the numbers, some do recover from substance abuse. With over 20 million Americans currently in recovery, offering support and resources for those on the journey toward a healthier lifestyle is essential. Here are ways to support people recovering from substance abuse:

Show Compassion

Remember that everyone is different when dealing with addiction issues—what works for one person might not work for another. There are ways how you can be more compassionate and understanding of their situation:

Avoid Judgment

One of the things that many people in recovery need is acceptance. Letting them know that you care and understand their situation without being judgmental is essential for their recovery process. This also means you look past a person’s mistakes and acknowledge the hard work they have put in to get to where they are now.

Lend an Ear

One of the biggest challenges people recovering from substance abuse face is feeling isolated and alone. By simply being willing to listen, you can make a huge difference in someone’s life by talking with them and letting them know they have a friend they can rely on. You don’t need to be an expert or advise; providing emotional support goes a long way.

A therapist offering a glass of water to a teenager during a therapy session

Offer Practical Assistance

If someone is going through recovery, they may need help with practical tasks. Here are ways you can help someone:

  • Offer to help with grocery shopping
  • Give rides to meetings or appointments
  • Provide healthy meals or snacks
  • Introduce them to new activities and outlets of support.

You don’t need to commit yourself to any long-term period, but even short-term assistance can be incredibly helpful and appreciated by those in recovery. You can also take turns with other close friends or family members to provide support.

Provide Resources

If you know of any resources that could help someone recovering from substance abuse, share them. Even if you don’t personally know anyone who needs this information, you can help offer the following resources:

Support Groups

Support groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and SMART Recovery offer a safe and judgment-free environment for recovery. If you have the means, you can coordinate with other people to offer transportation and childcare for those attending. This helps free up some time for attending meetings and getting support from the group.

Dental Services

Substance abuse can lead to dental issues such as tooth decay, gum disease, and tooth loss. This is because drugs or alcohol can interfere with the body’s ability to absorb nutrients for good dental health.

You can help by coordinating with dental services providing free cleanings for those in recovery. You can also look for dental clinics that provide an all-on-4 dental implant option, which anchors prosthetic teeth to four dental implants all at once. This provides an immediate, secure, and comfortable solution for replacing all missing teeth in the upper or lower jaw with a permanent, fixed set of natural-looking teeth.

A dentist showing a patient dental x-ray result


Speaking with a professional therapist can help individuals process their emotions better and provide the necessary tools for maintaining a healthy lifestyle. If money is an issue, you can look for sliding-scale therapy options or free sessions offered in your community. This therapy focuses on helping individuals address the underlying causes of addiction and offering methods for coping with stress and cravings by changing thought patterns.

Online Resources

Plenty of online resources are available to support those recovering from substance abuse. These include websites, forums, newsletters, and blogs that provide information about recovery programs and sobriety tools such as meditation and mindfulness exercises.

Create Opportunities for Fun

Recovery isn’t all about helping someone stay away from substances. It’s also about helping them find healthy activities that bring them joy and happiness. You can look or initiate fun activities to help those with substance abuse issues find purpose and relaxation. Some of these include the following:

  • Go on a walk or hike
  • Organize game nights
  • Take up painting or drawing classes
  • Join a book club
  • Help them find volunteer opportunities

These activities help those recovering divert their attention from drug or alcohol use. It may also be a way for them to find some new hobbies and interests.

Showing compassion, lending an ear, and providing resources can greatly support those recovering from substance abuse. Remember that even the smallest gesture of kindness can make a big difference in someone’s life, so don’t forget to offer help when you can! With the right support system, people with substance abuse issues can get back on track and lead healthier, happier lives.

Share this post:

About The Author

Scroll to Top