If you have a loved one in early alcohol recovery, you know how hard it was for them to get here. You may feel both hope and concern about the future. You\u2019d probably do just about anything to keep them from spiraling back into the devastation of alcohol abuse. While you can\u2019t do the work for them, your support can make a huge difference. Here\u2019s how to support an alcoholic in recovery: Ask How You Can Help Sometimes the simplest way to help recovering alcoholics is the most overlooked. Instead of spinning your wheels trying to figure out what your loved one needs, ask them how you can support their alcohol recovery. Recovering addicts\u2019 needs are different. Something you would never have imagined could make a big difference to your loved one. Maybe they need someone to go to the movies with them every Tuesday instead of attending their favorite happy hour. Perhaps they\u2019d love a text once a day reminding them you\u2019re here for them. Some recovering addicts have been so entrenched in their addiction they\u2019ve forgotten how to do the little things. After alcoholism treatment, they may need help planning meals, applying for jobs, making appointments and doing other day-to-day tasks. Put it out there. It\u2019s as simple as saying something like, \u201cI\u2019m proud of you and want to support you. What do you need?\u201d Be Available During alcohol rehab, recovering addicts have 24\/7 support. They\u2019re immersed in a community of mental health professionals and peers in recovery. Returning to everyday life after inpatient rehab can be jolting. Let your loved one know they\u2019re not alone. Having family and friends that understand their situation is critical right now. Hopefully they also have a sponsor and sober network from their time in the treatment center. You can\u2019t be the sole source of support, but letting your loved one know you\u2019ll be as available as possible can go a long way. For instance, some recovering alcoholics keep a list of people to call when they\u2019re struggling with alcohol triggers. You could offer to be one of those people. Acknowledge This Is a Big Deal You\u2019ve probably seen your loved one at their worst. You know getting sober isn\u2019t easy. Alcohol recovery isn\u2019t just something you do. It\u2019s not a matter of willpower. Science tells us that addiction is a disease of the brain. Alcohol abuse changes the brain. Getting better isn\u2019t just a matter of alcohol detox and support groups. Recovering alcoholics must fight their way back from addiction. Alcohol recovery involves repairing the physical and psychological damage of substance abuse. It means facing the reasons they\u2019ve needed to abuse alcohol to cope with emotional pain. Your loved one likely faced some pretty scary demons and went to some dark places in alcohol rehab in order to get better. Tell them you get how hard this is. Let them know you\u2019re proud of them. The difficult work isn\u2019t over after inpatient treatment. Assure them you\u2019ll be with them for the tough road ahead. Encourage Their Positive Efforts Recovering addicts learn a lot about recovery skills in substance abuse treatment programs. The recovery process doesn\u2019t end after alcohol rehab. It takes hard work and a commitment to a healthy lifestyle. Recognizing their efforts can provide positive reinforcement. You might even offer to drive them to appointments, exercise with them or participate in other ways. Some things that support recovering addicts\u2019 long-term sobriety include: \tRegularly attending support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous \tGetting behavioral health care from a therapist \tAttending family therapy or couples therapy \tManaging any dual diagnosis issues with treatment medications for depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders \tAvoiding people, places and situations that will tempt them to drink \tPracticing self-care like exercising, mindfulness, spirituality, proper nutrition and good sleep habits \tAttending school, maintaining a job or volunteering Take Care of Yourself Loved ones of substance abusers suffer too. Research shows loved ones of addicts often struggle with: \tMental health issues \tLess social connections \tPoor quality of life \tLow productivity \tFinancial issues Loving a recovering addict can be overwhelming and depleting. It\u2019s easy to find yourself trying to carry their burden. You must take care of yourself. This is especially true for those closest to recovering alcoholics such as partners, children or parents. Family and friends can help themselves by: \tAttending therapy \tJoining support groups like Al-Anon \tHolding boundaries \tNot enabling Know Warning Signs of Relapse Relapse happens. Addiction is a chronic disease. Like other chronic illnesses, it\u2019s a lifelong effort to keep it in check. Research shows about 40-60% of people in alcohol or drug abuse recovery will relapse. This doesn\u2019t mean your loved one is destined for alcohol relapse. It means you should know the warning signs. These may include: \tWithdrawing from family and friends \tStops attending Alcoholics Anonymous or other support groups \tBegins hanging out with old drinking friends \tEvidence of binge drinking like empty bottles in the trash \tStops self-care practices like eating right and getting enough sleep \tGets defensive when you ask about their behaviors \tSigns of alcohol withdrawal like vomiting, stomach issues, sweating or nervousness \tStops taking treatment medications for mental health disorders \tMissing group meetings or therapy appointments If you\u2019re worried your loved one is struggling with alcohol abuse again, here are a few things you can do: \tYou can approach them directly. Let them know you see they\u2019re having a hard time and ask how you can help. This could at least open the lines of communication for some sort of movement in the right direction. \tYou can reach out to their sponsor. Groups like Alcoholics Anonymous will often have an alcohol intervention for members who\u2019ve relapsed. \tContact their last alcohol rehab. If your loved one spent time in a treatment center they likely provide reintervention services.