Do’s and Don’ts When Approaching Someone About Their Addiction
How to Talk to a Loved One About Their Addiction
It’s not easy to talk to someone about their addiction, especially if you have no experience with substance use disorders. You want to help them, but you don’t understand why they are having this problem and you’re struggling to come up with a plan approaching someone about addiction. At the same time, you may be dealing with feelings of anger and resentment at the addict for causing financial problems or social and emotional difficulties. But if approaching someone about addiction occurs with love and without judgment, you will find the right words.
However you talk to your loved ones, keep the message positive and focus on your concern and love for them. You are not there to give advice or offer treatment, which should be left to professionals. It’s your job to provide support and encouragement. Here are some ways to show you care and want to help them succeed:
Talking About Addiction: Do’s
Do expect some conflict
Your loved one may not want to admit they have a problem and may push back with denial. Remind them you love them and want to help. Keeping your message positive and supportive will make them feel less attacked and judged.
Do offer your emotional support
They may have been putting off treatment because they don’t think they can kick their habit. When you tell them you’re in their corner, it helps to reduce this feeling of hopelessness.
Do keep the focus on yourself
Without getting judgmental or accusing the addict of hurting you, talk about how their behavior has affected you. Avoid blame by saying “I feel this way” rather than “You made me feel me this way.” Use factual statements, not opinions.
Do encourage them to get professional help
Remind them that their addiction is not a character flaw or a simple habit they can break with willpower. Instead, it is a complicated condition that requires professional help. Let them know you’re there to help find it.
Talking About Addiction: Dont’s
Don’t think it will be easy
Even when addicts agree they have a problem and sincerely want to recover, the process of recovery will include setbacks along with victories. That’s one good reason to encourage the addict to seek help from professionals who can help them through those challenging times.
Don’t blame or shame them
Before you talk about addiction, you must understand it. Your loved one probably did not choose to become addicted and is not refusing to recover out of laziness or stubbornness. So don’t present their addiction as something they can just “get over.”
Don’t make it personal
Your loved one may have hurt you or others when using drugs or alcohol, but they did not set out to hurt you just to hurt you. Don’t accuse them of bad behavior without making it clear you understand why they behaved that way.
Don’t make excuses for them
At the same time, you can’t fall into the trap that many addicts set so they can keep drinking or using drugs. Don’t tell them their addiction is not their fault, or tell them they’re under the influence of something more substantial than they are. Don’t enable their addiction to continue.
Don’t play amateur treatment specialist
No matter how much you think you know about addiction, don’t offer information or advice unless you’re a specialist yourself. (Even if you are, you probably should not be treating someone close to you.) Instead, offer to help your addicted loved one get help by referring them to professionals, but don’t tell them what program to use.
Call Muse Treatment for Effective Addiction Treatment
When it’s time to seek professional help, consider referring your loved one to Muse Treatment for comprehensive addiction help. We offer a caring, compassionate approach to addiction treatment, including group and individual therapy that seeks to uncover the root causes of addiction and helps clients find new ways of coping with problems they may be self-medicating with drugs or alcohol.
When learning about approaching someone about addiction, it’s vital to know you have resources to help. If you want to learn how addiction treatment can work and how to talk to someone about their addiction, contact us today at 800-426-1818.
— Muse Treatment (@MuseTreatmentLA) July 27, 2021