Tips For Connecting with Your Loved One

March 1, 2024

A question I’m asked often is, “How do I connect with my loved one when they’re in active addiction?”

It’s a great question. Connection is an important part of recovery; it’s actually the opposite of addiction, so connecting with your loved one in meaningful ways helps keep the pathways to recovery open.

The trick is connecting with your loved one’s true essence and not their addiction (because remember, your loved one is not their addiction), and that can be difficult to navigate.

Here are a few tips to how you can connect with them and not their addiction:

Tip #1: Start small

It doesn’t take a two-hour heart-to-heart to connect with someone. Even just a text message can create a meaningful connection. And like any new skill, learning to communicate and connect in a new way takes practice. Taking it on in small chunks, like a short text exchange or two-minute chat, will make it easier to navigate as you start out.

Tip #2: Know your intention for the interaction

What’s your goal behind the exchange? Are you trying to get them to respond with, “OMG, you are so right. I don’t know what I was thinking…of course, I will stop drinking now!

It would be awesome if there was something you could say that would get that result, but the reality is there’s no rationalizing with addiction. Nothing you say will get them to stop drinking or drugging, and hoping that it will just keeps you caught in your own chaos loop. That’s not healthy for anyone.

If, on the other hand, your goal is to simply let them know you love them, to connect with them on a heart level regardless of whether they respond and without expectation of a result, that is more than possible.

Tip #3: Try some of these phrases

I love you.
I understand.
I’m sure that’s hard.
I hear what you’re saying.
I love you and no.
I love you and not today.
I love you and not now.
I’ll pray for you.
I’m praying for us all.
This is hard.
This is really hard.
I get it.

That’s it. You can send a text that just says, “I love you.” That’s connection. Maybe they’ll respond or maybe their addiction will.

If their addiction spews off something nasty or self-deprecating that you would normally try to rationalize with, you could reply instead, “I’m sure that’s hard. I’m praying for you.”

No convincing, no bargaining, no begging, no yelling, no cutting off.

Addiction won’t care to hear it, but your loved one will. Even if they can’t respond.

Tip #4: Get support

If you’re struggling with what to say or how to reach out to your loved one in a way that allows for connection without you getting caught up in the addiction, there are two great ways for you to get support:

Post in our Friends of Tipping Point online community, and get input from others who have put these skills into practice, including former and current Tipping Point clients.

Or for more hands-on support, join us for our upcoming Stop the Chaos Study Group, starting this Thursday, March 7th.

Through the study group, you receive…

  • 4 60-minute video trainings delivered as soon as you register, packed with information on what is really going on with your loved one.
  • 2 bonus trainings for a total of six hours of recovery content.
  • Action steps so you know what to do to offer real help.
  • Worksheets, tools & practical resources to guide your recovery skills.
  • PLUS 4 LIVE study group sessions held over Zoom. Go deeper into the material each week in group sessions led by Kate and one of our MVP students, and get the support you need to get started with your recovery journey.

It’s a chance for more detailed guidance and live support, while also offering a chance to connect with others going through a similar situation. And that kind of connection is just as important as connecting with your loved one.

Register for Stop the Chaos HERE, and make sure to check the box for the live study group to join us on March 7th.

And let me know in the comments below, what are some ways you’ve found to connect with your loved one when they’re active? Or what challenges have you faced when you’ve tried?

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