With the prevalence of substance use disorder, it’s likely that you know someone who is addicted to drugs, alcohol, or both substances. You might have heard the old saying that only an addict can decide when to accept help. Knowing how to help an addict means providing the support that a loved one needs to overcome their addiction.
How To Help An Addict
Your loved one and their situation are different from those of other people who are struggling with substance use disorder. However, below are a few tips so you can learn how to help an addict:
Focus on yourself
Focusing on yourself might seem like an odd way to help an addict. It’s important to do so, though, because seeing someone you love struggle with addiction is stressful. Learning how to effectively manage that stress puts you in a better position to help your loved one.
Communicate honestly and without judgment
It’s natural for you to want to tell your loved one how their addiction is affecting you and causing problems in your relationship. While you can tell them that you need them to change, ultimately the decision to do so is theirs alone.
This approach could put your loved one on the defensive. Instead, aim to communicate honestly in a way that is non-threatening to your loved one. They are more likely to listen to what you have to say.
Build trust within the relationship
This can be a difficult thing to do if the person has already betrayed your trust. By attempting to do so, however, you can set the stage for conversations about treatment. Behaviors like lecturing, yelling, and criticizing can make it seem like you are trying to control the other person. Try to act from a place of compassion when engaging with your loved one.
Help reduce stress
Many people who struggle with substance use disorder use addictive substances as a way to help control their stress levels. Try to keep the environment between the two of you as free of stress as possible. Demonstrate those tactics that you use to relieve stress so your loved one can see other coping skills in action.
Use natural consequences
One of the most frustrating occurrences that can happen when you are trying to learn how to help an addict is that your loved one doesn’t believe that they have a problem. It’s natural to want to protect your loved one from experiencing the consequences that could occur.
However, many people who are struggling with substance use disorder can’t really see it until they start experiencing the consequences. Unless it puts themselves or someone else in danger — like drinking and driving — let them experience the consequences of their addiction. It might enough to prompt the change you’ve been desiring.
Once your loved one is in treatment for substance use disorder, you’ll likely have the opportunity to participate in counseling sessions with them. Be honest about your feelings and how the addiction has affected you.
Keep an open mind during counseling. Your loved one might say something that upsets you or hurts your feelings. This is especially true during counseling. Working closely with the counselor can help you and your loved one become stronger.
Promises Behavioral Center has years of experience in helping men and women from all walks of life — including professionals — who are struggling with addiction. We offer the following services:
- Non-12-step rehab center
- Medical drug detox center
- Outpatient rehab center
- Family therapy treatment program
- Dialectical behavior therapy program