Giving your support to a loved one as they recover from addiction can help them continue to make positive changes in their life. And while making sure they have support when they need it is important, it can be easy to lose track of your own needs in the process.

Setting boundaries with your loved one can help you support their sobriety without becoming overwhelmed or burned out. It can also encourage them to use other resources like sponsors, substance use support groups or people they’ve met at meetings when you aren’t physically or emotionally available.

Setting boundaries came up several times when we talked with Brian Bartlett, manager of Programs for Change, on the For Health’s Sake podcast. Programs for Change is an alcohol and substance use recovery program that operates out of HealthPartners hospitals in the St. Croix Valley. The rest of our conversation covered:

  • How to educate yourself about sobriety support
  • How to support recovery without enabling addiction
  • How to check in and what to say to someone in recovery
  • What to do if you suspect that your loved one has relapsed
  • Resources and support for families of those struggling with addiction

Support your loved one and yourself

Putting yourself first might not occur to you when you’re helping a loved one with substance dependency. But it’s key to making sure you can be there for them when they need you most.

“Give yourself permission to prioritize yourself,” Bartlett says. “Your needs, wants and desires are okay, too.”

Looking to learn more? Get tips for supporting loved ones recovering from addiction.