Wellness Blog


It can often be difficult knowing how to navigate a relationship that is tainted by addiction. Often, loved ones are told that helping an addict means creating codependency, and that the best thing to do is show some “tough love,” even if that means walking away.

But is this really true?

Image of a man sitting on a couch with a bottle of alcohol on a coffee table in front of him. This image depicts how someone struggling with substance use disorders could receive help from a substance abuse counselor in Wilmington, NC. 28401 | 28403Is there a better way to relate to a friend or family member who is struggling with substance abuse? Is there a form of support besides “tough love” that can help our loved ones with withdrawal symptoms?

Recent research has found that loved ones can play an important role in an addict’s recovery from substance abuse. While loved ones can’t change their addicted friend or family member, there are things they can change about themselves that will benefit the relationship.

The most significant thing a person can do is to become more compassionate toward their loved one struggling with addiction. Compassion is key to recovery as it allows a person to love a friend or family member without condoning (enabling) their behavior.

Why Compassion is so Powerful in Recovery

When we offer a loved one genuine compassion, we voluntarily join them in their suffering and give them profound gifts that can be catalysts toward real healing and recovery. The substance abuse counselors at our Wilmington, NC-based therapy practice believe compassion to be a powerful tool in healing from addiction.

Being compassionate means:

We See Them

Compassion allows us to really see our loved one and the suffering they are going through, and how their withdrawal symptoms are affecting them.

We Hear Them

All humans need to be heard, but those with substance abuse issues often feel they go unheard. Compassion allows us to talk less and listen more.

We Validate Them

To see and to hear are not enough, we must also let our loved ones know they have a right to express their pain, anger, sadness, or any other emotion they are feeling. Too often, friends and family members ignore or minimize their loved one’s suffering in how their addiction affects them. Compassion helps us validate the person.

We Comfort Them

Image of a woman lying on the couch with her hands above her head. This image represents the trouble someone may face before beginning substance abuse counseling in Wilmington, NC. Work with an alcoholic therapist here for support. | 28405 | 28409Whether it’s physical, mental, or emotional pain, people with substance abuse issues need to be comforted. Compassion guides us and helps us provide our loved ones with comfort through a loving touch, knowing glance, or a few kinds words.

It is also incredibly important to be compassionate toward yourself during your loved one’s recovery. Self-compassion asks that we treat ourselves kindly; that we see, hear, validate and show ourselves the same comfort we show our loved one.

Substance Abuse Counseling Can Help

Image of a woman sitting in lawn chair in a grassy field. This image illustrates the peace one can find when meeting with a substance abuse counselor in Wilmington, NC. Those suffering from substance use disorders can find help here. | 28411 | 28412

If you are in the process of supporting a loved one with a substance use disorder, you too can receive support from a substance abuse counselor. We know that the trauma from addiction affects more than the addicts themselves. And you deserve compassion too.



Interested in starting Substance Abuse Counseling in Wilmington, NC?

If you or a loved one is suffering with addiction and interested in exploring treatment, our substance abuse counselors are here to support. We would be happy to speak with you about how we may be able to help the loved ones in your life struggling with substance abuse issues.

  1. Contact our office at (910) 202-4326.
  2. Start meeting with an experienced addictions counselor.
  3. Feel supported and empowered to help a loved one with addiction.

Other Services at Evolution Counseling and Wellness

At our Wilmington, NC-based practice, our team values comprehensive wellness. We know that a person struggling with substance abuse may have other struggles, as well. That’s why we offer many individual services, such as depression treatment, anxiety treatment and therapy for grief and loss. If the addiction is a result of unresolved trauma, we have trauma therapy and PTSD treatment to help. You and your loved ones are welcome to seek services in-person or via online therapy in North Carolina. We can’t wait to hear from you.