How Can Family and Friends Talk About Addiction with Loved Ones? 

How Can Family and Friends Talk About Addiction with Loved Ones? 

When a loved one becomes ill, there are family and friends that will discuss how to support them, find help, resources, and treatment. With addiction, it is not quite the same because people are not as sure what to say or how to behave once they know about it. Talking to someone about addiction feels difficult because of stigma, shame, fear, and myriad other emotions. It is healthy to feel those things, but not to remain stuck there. In order to help someone with an addiction, it takes persistence and courage to speak to the person and share concerns openly in order to find the best treatment approach.

Why Sharing is Caring

Addiction is a diagnosable condition with treatment, therapeutic support, and lots of protocols that can be offered in support of recovery. Alcoholism or drug addiction impacts a person’s overall health. It should be necessary to get treatment, but it is not always the case. People who have an addiction have to overcome denial and face the fact they need help. People with addiction may hurt loved ones, themselves, and people in their community before they decide to quit. To move from inaction to action when it comes to talking with a loved one, there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Let go of negative ideas around addiction: many people fear to lose their loved one or friend over raising the issue of addiction.  It a feel overwhelming to the point where people just don’t do it because they don’t want to risk anything (which is far from helpful)
  • Justifying their behavior: compared with how others you all know to deal with addiction, it may not seem ‘that bad.’ There may be justifications that pop up which minimize the dangers and risks. Excessive drinking is responsible for many young adults and older adults losing their health and lives, along with opioid use disorder, heroin, or other drugs. It is worth releasing this mindset to jump in and try to save a loved one from addiction
  • Not sure what to say: finding the words feels heavy, but it is important to just practice ahead of time and say what comes from the heart at the moment. It is hard to bring it up, but try to push down anger and hurt to let them know about your concerns and how to approach it honestly and openly so they feel there is an open door to talk to you in the future

Conversation Starter

It helps to think less and act more. Express concern but don’t worry if it comes across the wrong way so much as worrying it never gets said at all. Do an intervention if it feels right, but don’t ambush the friend with lots of feelings. Try to stick to the facts and ask if they would like some help. Have some support services readily available that may be useful like a hotline, place with addiction recovery groups, and let them know you would go with them if they asked for support. Most of all, let them know you are excited to be there with them at that moment and help them travel a new path that can lead them to find healing if they are ready. Your support will mean more than you know, even if it takes a while longer to finally accept.

The Palmetto Center provides a great space to heal from addiction. Our therapists and counselors understand the journey and are here to answer your questions about our program. We provide a program that has a special focus for professionals including chiropractors, nurses, doctors, lawyers, and more who need help with addiction recovery. Call us to find out more: 866-848-3001.