Supporting Loved Ones

Recovery isn’t easy. Supporting someone who has a dependence on prescription drugs can put a strain on your relationship. It is difficult to feel powerless as you witness their self-destructive decisions. Addiction recovery is
a lot of work.

Help, don’t enable

Loving someone with an opioid dependence can make it hard to keep from doing things for them that you think are helpful and caring. Sometimes those acts of love are actually harming their journey toward recovery.

Know the difference

Enabling means providing the opportunity for someone you care about to misuse pain medication. Saying no is sometimes the best way to help. It can be hard to recognize which behaviours fall into this category.

Stay strong

You don’t have to deal with your loved one’s problem in isolation. Addiction counselling and support groups are not just for the person struggling with opioid dependence. The more you learn about your loved one’s struggle with opioid dependence the better equipped you’ll be to help them.

Check out these support groups:*


How to Help Without Enabling


asteriskTealProvide the necessities of life
When you provide essentials such as a meal, personal hygiene products, or clothing, it can help them start recovery.

asteriskTealLead by exampleLet them know you do not support their choices and won’t join them in activities that encourage their dependence on prescription drugs. Offer the addict the opportunity to change.

asteriskTealCreate boundaries and stick to them
Setting boundaries allows you to detach yourself while still showing your support. It is also one of the best ways of staying in control of your environment and protecting yourself. Boundaries help you take care of your own needs without taking ownership of the behaviour of the person with the opioid addiction.

asteriskTealSeek outside support
Therapists or support groups can help offer guidance for loved ones, and you will have a better chance of staying the course when it comes to refusing to participate in negative enabling.


asteriskRedPay their bills
You are not responsible for managing their finances. They need to experience the consequences associated with their actions.

asteriskRedLie or cover for their behaviourHonesty helps dependent patients with recovery.

asteriskRedMake excuses for them
Making excuses or lying for someone with an opioid addiction is just making it easier for them to hide from their responsibilities.

asteriskRedDo things for them that they should be doing for themselves
Dependent patients need to learn to take responsibility for their recovery. Encourage them to seek medical support like addiction services, addiction counselling or drug rehab if they need assistance.

asteriskRedMake threats or back down on your consequences
If you back down, they’ll know you won’t hold them accountable for their actions.

asteriskRedTry to rescue them
While your help and support is appreciated and needed, they need to take responsibility for their own recovery. You can’t do it for them.

* This is not an endorsement, simply a sharing of information and services that may prove useful.