How to Truly Help an Addict
Seeing a loved one suffering from addiction is painful. But there’s hope and they need you now more than ever. When you help an addict, follow this guide.
There are more than 20 million people in the U.S. dealing with an addiction of some kind at this very moment. That means that, if you know someone who is battling alcohol addiction, drug addiction, or another type of addiction, you’re most definitely not alone. There are more people trying to work their way through this problem than you can imagine.
But even with all the resources that are available to those dealing with addiction, it can be difficult to help an addict, especially when you love and care about them so much. You have to show unprecedented levels of patience, resiliency, and character.
If you want to help an addict in your life, there are steps you can take to do it. The road to recovery might be long, and it might seem like you’re fighting an impossible battle. But you can do it when you follow these tips.
Open Up the Lines of Communication With the Addict
In some cases, a person dealing with an addiction, whether it be related to alcohol, drugs, or something else, might come to you asking for help. But more often than not, you will need to make the first move to help an addict.
Start by sitting down with the addicted person and mentioning that you have noticed a change in their behavior recently. Then, without passing any judgment on them, ask if they would like to speak about a problem they’re having.
It’s important for you not to blame the addict for their behavior or show any signs of anger towards them. While you might be upset with things they’ve done, the last thing they need is for you to lecture them or tell them about how awful their addiction is.
The goal at this point should be to show that you are on your loved one’s side before you move to the next step.
Stage an Intervention With Friends and Family Members, If Necessary
Ideally, your loved one will feel comfortable enough speaking with you about their addiction. But there are some people who do not respond well when they are confronted about their problem.
You should be prepared for this. Your intention might be to help an addict, but they could very well shut down on you and refuse to speak to you once you mention the idea of them having a problem.
If this happens to you, you don’t have to stop there. You can call on other friends and family members to hold an intervention to shine a light on just how bad your loved one’s addiction is.
While you want to avoid making your loved one feel cornered, you should invite the people who are most important to them to take part in an intervention. You should do your best to show the addict how their addiction has affected others. This can help an addict by forcing them to take a good, hard look at how addiction to affecting people other than just themselves.
You should, of course, make the proper preparations for your intervention. It needs to be planned carefully to have the maximum impact. But it can really make addicts rethink how their actions are playing a part in the lives of others.
Ask the Addict If They Would Be Willing to Seek Professional Help
While you can help your loved one admit they have a problem by either sitting and speaking with them or holding an intervention, you will probably not be able to help them beat their addiction on your own.
The addict in your life will need to seek some type of professional help to get a grip on their issue. That might mean doing something as drastic as entering a rehabilitation facility or as simple as signing up to attend weekly therapy sessions.
You can help an addict to find the right course of action for their specific situation. But you should emphasize from the beginning that you expect them to take their treatment seriously.
Even with professional help, it can be challenging to beat addiction. But getting professional help is a step in the right direction.
Stay Involved Once Treatment Begins to Help an Addict Along
After you have helped an addict find the right treatment for their addiction, you might think your job is done. But the battle is just beginning, both for the addict and for yourself.
Once a person starts treatment, you can help by checking in with them regularly to see how they are doing with treatment. Initially, they might be reluctant to talk to you much about it. But over time, you can work on repairing your relationship with your loved one by staying involved.
A person working their way through addiction might not be comfortable speaking about everything they’re doing. But at the very least, you should let them know you’re there for them if they ever need you.
Avoid Getting Too Involved in the Treatment Process
It’s great to stay active in a person’s life when they’re trying to piece everything back together. You never know when they will need a shoulder to cry on or someone to talk to about a step in their recovery.
At the same time, you don’t want to go too overboard when trying to help an addict. You don’t need to make every conversation you have with a person about addiction. You can talk about other things, too.
People battling addiction spend a lot of time and energy focused on beating their demons. Rather than bringing them up time and time again, give them a break from the never-ending battle. Bring up a different topic to take their mind off things.
Continue to Show Signs of Love and Support for the Addict
One of the most frustrating parts of attempting to help an addict is seeing them fail. Unfortunately, not everyone takes to treatment the first, second, or third time. It can take numerous recovery attempts before a person gets and ultimately stays clean.
The best thing you can do is be there for them, no matter how bad things might get. Everyone has their breaking point, but you should maintain a level of hope and do your best not to let the frustration get the best of you.
If nothing else, you can help by letting them know you will always be there for them if they decide they want to make a change in their life. That could go a long way towards encouraging them to get the help they need.
Help an Addict Find Help Now
Check out our blog for more information on spotting the signs of addiction and dealing with them accordingly.