A friend recently called saying that she had just learned her close friend had been sent to treatment by her husband. She was overwhelmed and had no idea her friend had been battling anxiety, depression, and too much drink. She asked, what should I say to my friend in light of what is happening?
Here's a thoughtful approach of what what to say to people with mental health or substance use disorders:
- You have been made for so much more life and love than what your battles have taught you to expect for yourself.
- You are loved just as you are, regardless of what you’ve done, are doing, or will do.
- You can forgive yourself. Where you are able, you can make amends to the people you have wronged without causing further harm to them or yourself.
- You can let go of what you cannot control or change. Tomorrow is a new day.
- Welcome! I want you here in my life. You are stuck with me!
- Tell me your story. Where is there pain in it? Where is a thread of redemption in it? (Then, listen to their story.)
- You have an illness, a disease, a very real struggle. I want you to find recovery and healing. I will walk with you every step of the way-- and not just on the good days.
When we go through difficult times, knowing we are not alone can make all the difference. These simple but profound statements can help.
Adapted from The Recovery Minded Church (c) Jonathan Benz, 2016.