What is a Recovery Conversation?

May 28, 2024

I’ve been talking a lot about my book that just came out, Dear Family, Why Your Loved One Won’t Accept Help and How To Help Them Anyway.

The book—and Tipping Point Recovery as a whole—came to be because I started having conversations with people as I began to get sober. Conversations with fellow addicts, with my family, with police officers, and doctors, and case managers. 

I continued these conversations well into my recovery, eventually sharing my experiences with families of others struggling, and I discovered the key that is the foundation of Tipping Point Recovery’s Work:

When nonalcoholic family members and friends hear from recovering people, you can better help your loved one.

These ongoing conversations with hundreds of families and thousands of people in recovery are what has led to the creation of our family trainings, many of which have Recovery Conversations in the title.

So what is a Recovery Conversation?

In simplest terms, a recovery conversation is a conversation rooted in recovery. This means it is…


It is pulling back the curtain and lifting up the rug to the truth beneath. It is willing to lean into discomfort and take accountability for our own stuff.

It is probably the opposite of a lot of conversations you’ve had with your loved one while they’ve been active in their addiction.

But your loved one doesn’t need to be sober for you to engage in a recovery conversation with them. You can lead the conversation with recovery and remain rooted in these principles. 

There’s even a whole chapter in my book that shares tips on how to shift your language to allow for recovery conversations to take place. 

You may not get a loving response back, but your loved one will notice the difference.

You can have recovery conversations with people other than your loved one as well. 

  • Sharing with a different family member some of the changes you are trying to make can be a recovery conversation.
  • Resolving a conflict with a co-worker that has nothing to do with your loved one at all can be a recovery conversation.

The more open, honest, recovery-led conversations we are willing to have, the more rooted in our own recovery we become, opening the door for others to find their own path.

If you need help getting started, Dear Family is the perfect tool to guide you.

Tell me in the comments, what’s a recovery conversation that you’ve had recently? How did it feel compared to other conversations you’ve had in the past?

Leave a Comment


  1. Rose

    Feeling confused and conflicted. A friend who has been very supportive and understanding over the past year, recently betrayed my trust. I have shared information about my adult son’s mental health issues, and considered her a friend because of the support she showed me and my son. He recently completed a short 6 week admission to a Rehab facility. Since his return home he has been doing well…One step at a time.
    Recently, this friend revealed some of this information to a business associate!
    A weekend business trip was planned with this business associate, my son was invited to come along, to see if he might be interested in joining the company. When I discovered that the business associate had information about my son, which I hadn’t shared, I was shocked, confused, protective of my son and disappointed in this friend.
    I confronted the friend and asked her why she felt it necessary to reveal my son’s past behavior with this business associate. She was immediately apologetic and stated she felt this person needed to know incase my son became unstable during a planned trip. I told her that was not her responsibility or business.
    I have since forgiven her, but now I see this friend( whom I’ve only known 18 months) in a different light.
    I have contacted her only once since this incident happened- 2 weeks ago, and the atmosphere is chilly…!

    • Kate Duffy

      I’m sorry to hear about this difficult situation. In a “recovery conversation” it’s important to be honest with your friend about how her actions affected you. Best to approach the conversation with curiosity and respect, asking her to understand your perspective. Trust is crucial, and it’s okay to take time to rebuild it.


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