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How To Talk To A Loved One About Addiction

April 19, 2024

It frequently happens that you will see the signs of alcohol or drug use in a family member before they do. Struggling to handle obligations, being defensive or secretive about drinking or using drugs, or appearing pale and unhealthy can all be red flags for addiction.

But how should you converse with them about this difficult matter? The last thing you want to do is push away an individual who is scuffling with drug or alcohol use disorder. Here’s how to talk to a loved one about addiction and how to get them started with recovery.

Plan To Talk About Their Substance Use Wherever They Are Most Comfortable

Approaching someone you love about their addiction is called an intervention. This is the time when you advise them that you see they have a condition and want them to find professional treatment.

Discussing their addiction will undoubtedly be challenging for them. Help them feel relaxed by holding the intervention in a familiar place, like at home or a preferred hangout spot. If you want some assistance, call others who know and love this person. You also should choose a starting time when everyone will have enough time to talk things over.

Be Sincere And Straightforward

When talking about addiction, you must be direct. Don’t skirt the subject or turn to confusing euphemisms. Tell your family member or friend that you are concerned about their substance use. Explain the red flags of addiction you have seen, like keeping things secret, withdrawing from loved ones, neglecting commitments, or partaking in risky behavior. Be forthcoming about the withdrawal symptoms that you’ve noticed, like how they get sick and bad-tempered when they abstain from their substance. Highlight that you are worried about their safety, support them, and would like to help.

The person you’re trying to help may react in a negative manner. In spite of how good-naturedly you address them, they may feel angry, embarrassed, or ashamed. Keep speaking in a firm but civil manner. Don’t bicker or scream. Keep in mind, your objective is to help them get better, not feel worse.

Allow Them To Speak

Your loved one might feel ambushed or overburdened if you do all the talking. Give them a chance to answer when they want to. They may have little to say when you first start. Or, they may become defensive. Let them get a word in while withholding judgment. Don't push them if they aren’t ready to engage or get help. Let them know you’re available to discuss when they’re prepared to, and you will take it up again in the near future.

Create And Maintain Your LimitsLimitations

A substance use disorder hurts more than the individual taking alcohol or drugs. If your loved one’s addiction is having an impact on you, make it known. Create boundaries to prevent it from influencing you even more. That might include advising them you will not give them money or they aren’t allowed to communicate with vulnerable family members until they start recovery. If they challenge those boundaries, be firm. Boundaries protect you and demonstrate how resolute you are about this situation.

Offer To Help Them Get Treatment

Seeking treatment for addiction is challenging, so offer to help them. This is among the most vital aspects of how to talk to a loved one about their addiction. Look into addiction recovery centers and be prepared with the details you find. Offer to place the call on their behalf, provide a ride, or help pay for treatment, if feasible. If they decline treatment, inform them you’ll keep the information you found and help them whenever they’re ready to move forward.

Learn More About How To Talk To A Loved One About Addiction

Need help getting drug or alcohol use treatment for a person close to you? Sunrise Detox Center is your trusted local substance use treatment center. Dial 888-443-3869 or fill out the following form to talk to us now about getting started. We take calls day or night, 365 days a year. We’re here for you and the person close to you whenever you need us.