National Recovery Month: How to support your loved ones in recovery

two friends or romantic partners having a nice conversation outside with trees in the background while drinking fun drinks

September is National Recovery Month and Jøyus is proud to offer support however we can.

As the only 100% sober and woman-owned non-alcoholic winery, we’ve been there and know how challenging (and rewarding!) recovery can be. Here are some tips on how you can support your loved ones in recovery from alcohol addiction:

1. Check in regularly and really listen.

People in recovery—like everyone—need to be heard. Engage and be interested in your loved one as they share with you. Even when you don’t agree, it can be helpful to listen to (and not negate) their feelings and concerns.

Senior couple sitting outside having a conversation

2.  Avoid unnecessary and triggering arguments.

People in recovery are much more likely to relapse when under stress. Do your best to provide healthy communication. Try to spend quality time that keeps things positive and avoid painful or triggering topics and situations. 

3.  Practice healthy habits and be a positive example.

Helping others develop healthy coping mechanisms starts with yourself. Good sleep hygiene, healthy food, working out, avoiding drugs and overuse of alcohol and focusing on healthy living not only helps your loved ones by providing a positive example, it helps you improve your own health, which can help you bond and heal with a loved one in recovery.

Woman leaving the house to go workout. Doing a arm and body stretch before starting

4.  Do not judge.

People experiencing recovery are already their own harshest critic. The guilt and shame of the past is easily overwhelming. They don’t need your judgement to make them feel even worse. Do your best to love and accept them as they are. They are trying to get on the right track. Keep that in mind.

5.  Offer encouragement and celebrate their progress.

Show your loved one encouragement and support by demonstrating how proud you are of their recovery. A few simple words of encouragement and support can go a long way. Whether it’s one day, one week, one year or 10—celebrating recovery milestones is key in keeping people on track. Send them a congratulatory text, make them a card, or take them to dinner to show how happy and proud you are of them as they reach each milestone.

two happy males smiling holding each other

6.  Practice patience. 

Recovery doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a lifelong process.  While someone may be in recovery, they could still engage in unhealthy behaviors. Recovery goes way beyond abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Developing healthy coping mechanisms will take time. Be prepared for setbacks, continue to show love and support, and practice patience with yourself and your loved one.

7.  Educate yourself on addiction and recovery. 

There are a lot of misconceptions about addiction—that it’s simply a lack of willpower or a moral failing. Nonsense. Addiction is a disease that takes over the brain’s reward system and affects impulse control. It’s a physical and mental addiction. There is no simple cure for addiction or a one size fits all solution. 

8.  Set healthy boundaries for yourself.

Be aware of your own behavior and how it may be triggering during recovery. Avoid enabling, codependency and other unhealthy or toxic behaviors. And if you need some time to yourself, that’s ok too. You can be a model for them on what healthy boundaries look like. It will benefit everyone involved.

9.  Reduce triggering situations.

It can be incredibly helpful to not keep drugs and alcohol in your home if you live with someone in the early stages of recovery. Help them avoid triggering social situations where there is a risk of relapse or support them by going with them to help keep them accountable. Supply or encourage them to bring non-alcoholic options so they can feel more comfortable and included when they are in social situations without consuming alcohol.

10.  Encourage Seeking Outside Support. 

Encourage your loved ones in recovery to attend recovery groups, addiction recovery treatment, therapy, seek necessary medical help and other support systems such as online sobriety groups, books, podcasts and more. Recovery isn’t done alone, and finding a community can be their key to staying sober. Community can be key for you as well! There are also meeting groups, books and more for people like you who have friends, family and loved ones in recovery.

diverse people in a support group or meeting smiling


There’s a lot you can do to support a loved one in recovery. But at the end of the day, you can’t make them sober or make them get help. And you need to put your own health and safety first. You’re not responsible for someone else’s sobriety, but you can be a valuable part of their support system.