Photo of addiction peer coach Rachel Herlyn

Patience with loved ones in recovery

Meet Rachel
Rachel started at Face It TOGETHER as a client and now coaches a range of people, including loved ones and those who have addiction. She's experienced in trauma, anxiety and other mental health issues.

Q: My loved one has started their recovery journey, but it’s not going as fast as I thought it would. Is this normal?

A: As loved ones, we want wellness to come quickly. It’s definitely normal to want the people you care about to be healthy as soon as possible. Although it can be difficult, it’s important to be patient and supportive.

As someone who’s been in both positions, as a loved one and someone with the disease, I understand this can be challenging. When it comes to staying patient with my son, I’ve found it helpful to focus on the progress he’s already made rather than worrying about his mistakes or the possibility of relapse. Relapses may happen, but that’s OK. Try to encourage them, give them words of affirmation and let them know your door is always open if they want to come talk. 

If my son needs to talk, I’m there for him without judgment. I’d much rather hear about what’s honestly going on in his life than for him to hide something – that causes more harm than good.

My husband, son and myself have all struggled with addiction throughout time. Now, our family is all about recovery, honesty, openness and talking through challenges or even hurt. We take time every so often to celebrate our recovery as a family. I really appreciate those celebrations because they remind me how far I’ve come in my personal journey. They also remind me to appreciate the progress my son is making.

Whenever loved one clients get frustrated with the progress of the person in their lives who’s seeking wellness, I remind them to set healthy boundaries, practice self-care and remain patient because recovery takes time. Try to approach conversations with compassion rather than getting into heated conversations. I’ve caught myself mid-argument a few times, but I’ll stop and say, “I’m sorry, but I’m getting upset. Let’s discuss this later.” This takes a lot of practice, but the more we’re able to disengage from heated conversations, the better it is for everyone involved.

Of course, these approaches are easier said than done. If you’d like to talk with a loved one coach, please get in touch with us on our get started page.

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