How to Help a Loved One with Addiction

When someone you love is dealing with addiction, you may wonder what you can do to help. While your loved one needs to make their own commitment to getting clean, there are ways you can provide support on the journey.

Take a look at 6 tips to help your loved one with addiction and offer support for recovery.

1. Learn the Facts

Before you can help your loved one, you need to understand the basic facts of drug and alcohol addiction. Addiction is not a sign of weakness or failure; it doesn’t make you a bad person. If your loved one is dealing with addiction, they cannot “just say no” to drugs and alcohol, even if they want to. Good intentions are not enough. Rather, addiction is a disease that often requires professional treatment. With help from trained clinicians at a rehab center, your loved one can get the treatment and support they need to beat addiction and begin their healing journey.

2. Start a Conversation

Substance abuse is a sensitive subject, but that doesn’t mean it should be swept under the rug. Ignoring the issue won’t make it go away. In fact, the more your loved one uses, the worse the problem will get. But by starting a conversation and expressing your concern, you could motivate them to take steps toward recovery. Loving someone enough to have difficult conversations speaks volumes about how much you care.

3. Show Compassion

Do your best to suspend judgment of your loved one; avoid blaming or looking down on them for their addiction. When you show compassion instead of judgment, your loved one may let their guard down and really listen instead of feeling compelled to defend themselves against a perceived attack. Try to understand where they’re coming from, expressing kindness and support rather than condemnation.

4. Focus on the Positive

Consider the fact that many of us respond better to positive interventions than negative ones, and take that into account in your conversations with your loved one. Though addiction has likely taken a toll on their relationships, work, and overall quality of life, they may not respond well to hearing a litany of negative consequences. Instead, share the benefits of recovery and all the positive outcomes they can look forward to in an addiction-free life.

5. Enlist Allies

Depending on the circumstances and your relationship with your loved one, it may be wise to bring trusted allies into your conversations. Involving close friends, family members, and even crisis intervention specialists can help your loved one see the gravity of the situation. Allies may also be helpful as a chorus of reason if your loved one is in denial about their addiction. Specialists can be particularly valuable if you’re concerned about a hostile or even violent reaction when your loved one is confronted with the reality of their addiction.

6. Offer Solutions

If your loved one is open to hearing what you have to say, be ready to suggest specific recovery resources. Having a name and phone number on hand is a great way to provide practical assistance and simplify next steps. Look for a therapist, support group, or rehab center that you can recommend. You may even wish to contact clinicians in advance to ensure they have the resources your loved one needs for their specific situation.

While you don’t want to offend or anger your loved one, you also love them too much to leave them alone in their addiction. Thankfully, they don’t have to go it alone—and neither do you. Take the courageous step to offer your loved one a lifeline of recovery.

If your loved one needs help for addiction, please call (866) 349-1770. Our trained admissions counselors can walk you through the process of getting treatment at Beachside Rehab’s private recovery center.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash