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San Diego Sober Living - Recovery

Motivating a Loved One in Addiction Recovery

In the 2018 film Beautiful Boy, which is based on two poignant memoirs written by a methamphetamine addict and his father, actor Timothée Chalamet plays the role of Nic Sheff, a best-selling writer whose life now revolves around promoting mental health awareness among young people. Beautiful Boy is a heartbreaking film that ends with an uplifting title card featuring a message Sheff always mentions when he delivers lectures: that he owes his life to the friends and family members who supported him as he embarked on a difficult and chaotic journey to recovery. When addiction and mental health issues are as devastating as in the film Beautiful Boy, patients in recovery need all the motivation they can get, particularly from loved ones, to stay sober.

The Power of Unconditional Love

If all addiction recovery patients had the benefit of unconditional love, relapse rates would likely be negligible. People who can feel, project, and enact the kind of love that transcends addiction are the best motivators patients in recovery can hope to have. 


Unconditional love is at the heart of the Beautiful Boy memoirs, but it’s far from perfect because Nic Sheff tested the patience and resilience of his parents and everyone else who cared for him. Sheff’s father was forced to give up on his son a couple of times, but unwavering love brought them back together each time.

Sympathy, Empathy, & Taking Action

Addiction is a terrible hardship that deserves sympathy. Feeling sorry for an addicted loved one is a well-intentioned reaction. To convert this emotion into motivation, it should come from the heart instead of being accusatory. 


Empathy is all about stepping into another’s shoes, but not everyone can develop it. This explains why many addiction counselors have gone through the recovery process themselves. 


Taking action means creating a positive impact on those who need it, and it involves guiding patients through their recovery journeys. While sympathy often precedes empathy, taking action for addicted loved ones is a better way of instilling motivation.

Delivering Love in Motion through Practical Support

When you provide real-world assistance, such as helping with childcare or transportation, such actions can be more motivating than saying “I know you can do it.” You don’t have to be a cheerleader if that isn’t your style. As long as you act as a facilitator in your loved one’s journey to sobriety, your actions will be strong motivators. 


You can still establish boundaries and hold your loved ones accountable for their misdeeds as you help them. Actions always speak louder than words, and this is even more valid in the context of addiction recovery.

Motivation After Relapse

In the film Beautiful Boy, Nic Sheff goes through four major relapse episodes. In reality, he fell off the wagon nearly a dozen times, and he survived overdosing twice. Thankfully, his parents helped with getting him back into rehab. 


Sheff’s final relapse was nearly fatal. His parents had previously rejected him when he asked if he could come back home, but they were at his bedside when he recovered at the hospital. Being there for loved ones in recovery is a powerful motivator, and it can be as simple as visiting them while they’re staying in a Solana Beach sober living home or attending counseling sessions with them.

Addiction impacts every aspect of physical and mental health, and it’s a serious problem that requires professional treatment. If you or someone you love is addicted to drugs or alcohol, seek help from a medical professional or another person you trust to help you explore options for treatment and continuing support, such as a sober coach. Solana Beach men who need help with forming new sober lifestyle habits can reach out to the dedicated team at Casa Pacifica Sober Living for the guidance they need. Give us a call today to learn how we can help.

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