How To Approach A Loved One About His Or Her Addiction

November 27, 2018

It can be challenging to help a loved one who has an addiction. Unlike someone with a physical health condition like diabetes or cancer, a person who is addicted to drugs or alcohol might not recognize the severity of his or her illness. Denial is common in addiction. If you try to talk to your loved one, he or she might brush off or minimize your concerns. It is essential to understand that you cannot help the person by yourself. However, approaching your loved one in the right way can help this individual get the help he or she needs. Here are some tips.

Listen As Much As You Talk

It is not easy to talk to people about their drug or alcohol use. When you do bring it up, it could cause the person to feel like he or she is being cornered or put on the spot. The individual might become angry or hurt. One way to encourage this person to open up without becoming defensive is to listen to him or her. Try not to judge or criticize his or her behavior. Encourage your loved one to talk about the addiction. Find out what concerns he or she has about treatment. Make it a rule to listen to your loved one at least as much as you talk.

Be Consistent — Make Sure Your Words and Actions Match Up

It is important to be consistent and set healthy boundaries when dealing with a person with an addiction. For instance, if you tell your loved one that you will not tolerate drugs or alcohol in the house, then you must follow through. That might mean asking the individual to find another place to stay if he or she insists on using drugs or alcohol in your home. If you tell your loved one that you will not bail him or her out if he or she gets arrested, then follow through when it happens. Setting healthy boundaries and being consistent will help both you and your loved one.

Show Love and Concern

Let your family member or friend know that you are concerned. Support him or her in getting help. If your loved one is not yet ready to get help by himself or herself, you can always reach out to a treatment professional. That person can help you figure out how to best help your family member or friend.

Support the Process of Change

If your loved one has asked for help, he or she has taken an important first step toward recovery. Praise your loved one’s efforts. Encourage him or her to get an evaluation from a substance abuse professional. Offer to go with him or her to the assessment, if possible. Let your loved one know that you will support him or her throughout the process of change.

Stay Involved

Family involvement is crucial during drug and alcohol rehab. The more social support a person has, the less likely he or she is to experience a relapse. Every person is different and needs different levels of support. To determine how you can best help your family member or friend, talk to his or her treatment team. Convey your willingness to be part of the treatment process. Ask how you can help.

Offer Help in Ways That Your Loved One Would Like

Many people believe that they can pressure their loved ones into treatment with confrontational interventions. However, no evidence proves that these methods work, and they can often backfire and escalate into violence. Rather than forcing your loved one to get treatment in the way that you want, let this person do it his or her way. You should still set boundaries with your loved one. Nevertheless, accept that you cannot control what he or she chooses to do. Allow the person to make choices and deal with the consequences of those decisions.

One of the keys to recovery from an addiction is compassionate support from family and friends. The above tips will help you support your loved one without condoning or enabling his or her behavior. If your loved one is ready to take the next step on the road to recovery, contact Buena Vista Recovery, to learn more about our recovery programs.