What Are Communication Tips for Talking to Someone with Addiction?

What Are Communication Tips for Talking to Someone with Addiction?

When you act with kindness and compassion, you begin to see the difference from communicating out of a place of stigmatization or criticism of others. Addiction is stigmatizing enough. People with addictions expect others to insult or belittle them. By accepting them, you start to build bridges to forgiveness and recovery.

Whether you are a loved one or friend, a person with addiction is more likely to confide in you if you are really listening to what they have to say without interruption or criticism. Even if you do not agree with their behavior, addiction happens for a reason. Find out about addiction by reading online about it and find a bridge of understanding between what you know and what they may be experiencing.

Be Consistent

Whenever you are with someone with addiction, communicate through actions and words. Remain consistent in your message. Don’t say you think your partner has a problem drinking, then share a bottle over wine. Be sure to stay with that person in the sense of tracking their way of thinking and what their needs may be.

Be Predictable

People with addiction may be unpredictable in words and behavior. Setting a good example can help turn this around. Be predictable in words and actions when you are with someone who has an addiction. Surprises are stressful. Stress feeds into addiction. Show that person you love and care for them by showing up when you say you will and being the same person to them you are to others. Be consistent and let them know you won’t put up with bad behavior and will set limits but love them unconditionally.

Support Change

Let the person with addiction know you are willing to support them in changing by coming to family events and showing up but you are always there when they need you. Change is hard and they will need you for support on the journey.

Although you should be clear and firm about what is unacceptable and what is acceptable, you can be flexible in how they make changes. Offer to help in ways they like without dictating terms to them. They have to change in a way that best supports them, so let them do it their way while you stand beside them for the long haul.

The Palmetto Center is based on a Therapeutic Communty model. We help people learn how to live free of addiction. Our community support provides structure while trained counselors offer life skills training and therapeutic techniques to help you move past addiction. Our program provides 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.