Substance abuse and addiction are problems that are much more common than most people understand or likely to admit. Thousands, maybe more, Americans every year suffer from a form of addiction. There are several different types of addiction, but substance abuse issues are the most commonly known. These types of addictions also have a certain stigma that prevents addicts and their loved ones from confronting the problem. Addiction is misrepresented because it was incorrectly diagnosed and viewed. In the past addiction was thought of a problem of weak self-control and/or moral values. The truth could not be any different. Addiction affects people of all walks of life. It is an issue that does not discriminate. It can happen at any point in a person’s life. The goal of any addicted person or their loved ones is to confront the problem and build a solution. Long term, inpatient treatment is the best way to overcome an addiction. Most recovering addicts agree that professional help is a necessary part of their recovery. The first step towards treatment is confronting the issue of addiction. Here are some tips on how to talk to an addicted friend.
What is Different?
The first thing that friends of addicts must do is notice the problem. Some addicts do not display many signs or symptoms of their substance abuse. In some cases, the substance use and abuse of the group of friends can mask the problem. When a friend notices subtle changes, which slowly increase, they must confront the problem. The first step is to recognize those differences. There could be a slow decline in the individual’s ‘state-of-being’. When you notice these changes it is important to make a note. It would be counterproductive to confront the addict with a list of things you no longer like about the addict because it will most likely cause a problem. What you want to do is make a list of these differences that you are beginning to notice. Present these differences to your friend in a non-judgmental manner and follow that up with some loving support. The most important part of confronting friends about their addiction is to show them your concern comes from a loving, caring perspective. You should always let you friend know that you are there for them and want to see them succeed.
Understand and Present the Options
The worst thing to do when confronting an addicted friend is to come unprepared. The more you know and understand about addiction and recovery the better. There is a plethora of helpful websites, blogs and hotlines that can provide any and all the information needed. By understanding addiction, the best you can, and how/where it is treated you can have an effective/functional conversation about treatment. Professional treatment, whether it be a long term, inpatient program or a group meeting, is the best way to address and combat drug and/or alcohol addiction. When addicts understand their situation, what they must do and that they are not alone in their struggle against addiction they are more willing to accept help. Understanding and presenting the options for treatment and recovery is essential in getting an addict to accept the help they need to combat addiction.
It can become increasingly difficult to discuss addiction with an addicted friend, especially if discussions in the past have not worked out well. Even if the planning and researching has not yielded any results, it is essential to continue to have discussions. Talking about addiction is the best way to get them to accept treatment. By not talking or discussing the issues there is no chance for your friend to get help. They will continue to fall down the ‘rabbit hole’. Eventually the friend will open up more and more, which hopefully will get them to understand their problem and get help. Addicts must understand they are not alone in their fight and having the love and support of friends and family can help them get help. Just talk to your addicted friend about substance abuse, addiction, changes in their lives, treatment options, rehab, health, life and family. When you stop talking is when the problems can only get worse. With discussion, conversation the addict has a fighting chance of accepting their addiction and wanting to turn their lives around.