What will you do if you find out your best friend is addicted to drugs? When you discover your son, daughter, brother, or cousin is struggling with alcohol abuse? Do you confront them? Do you reprimand them? What should you do or say to help them? How do you deal with them without pushing them away?
Most people don’t know how to approach someone struggling with addiction until they actually encounter one. Addiction is a serious case. It is something we all need to prepare for in case we hear of a friend or relative in need of help.
Below are a few tips on how you can help a friend or a relative when you suddenly discover they’re suffering from addiction.
1) Ask how they’re feeling
There’s no better place to start than to ask them what and how they’re feeling. Asking a friend or a loved one which substance they’re addicted to could easily scare them off.
Instead, ask how they’re feeling, how they’re doing emotionally then see how they open up to you. Addiction is usually linked to depression or something of an emotional nature. Show them that you care about their feelings rather than trying to pinpoint their failings.
Let them know that they are loved, and reassure them of their worth. It’s hard for someone to change if they think they’re worthless. Reassuring them of their worth goes a long way in giving them a reason to change and to look forward to life after addiction.
Listen to what he/she has to say. It’s really important to not step on their story. It’s probably been a long time since someone’s enquired about their feelings or they may still be exploring how they’re actually feeling. It’s a scary step for someone struggling with addiction to open up entirely and trust you. So, endeavor to assure them that you can take care of that trust.
3.) Be there to talk to them
It’s important to let them know that it doesn’t matter what time they call; that they can talk to you at any time. The brain of an addict will create a reason not to seek help so that they can carry on as they are. Do your best to be that light, let them know that you’re someone they can talk to without prejudice or contempt.
Don’t nag at them or pressure them to change. Remember, you can’t make someone go to rehab or to do something about their addiction unless they really want to. Just check in with them from time to time and be prepared to listen when they want to share something with you.
4) Seek professional help
As a friend or a loved one, you can only do so much when trying to help someone with an addiction. Seeking professional help is the next step to take if you find yourself in this situation. This could range from counselling and therapy to inpatient and outpatient rehab centers. The first thing to consider when trying to recommend professional help is convenience, since they’re more likely to accept help if it appears convenient to do so.
An Alcoholics Anonymous meeting nearby would probably be a more convenient first step for an alcohol addict. In the same vein, a San Antonio drug rehab center would be more convenient for a drug addict living in San Antonio, Texas.
5.) Be patient; It takes time
It takes a long time between admitting you have a problem and getting rehabilitated. You have to be patient; take note of the slip-ups they make but don’t judge them for it.
They’ll ultimately make mistakes and probably have slip ups here and there. Part of the wheel of change involves wanting to change, changing behaviors, accepting help, then being sober, but there’s bound to be lapses and relapses. Understand that this is all part of the process. Treat them with love and respect and be patient with them, trusting that the process will come to fruition.