If you love someone that is addicted to drugs, then you know just how difficult dealing with their addiction can be. Simple communication with an addict is difficult at best, but talking to them about getting help can feel almost impossible. No matter how close you are to someone, telling them they need help is hard.
Approaching a loved one about their addiction can be a frightening thing. Not only is watching a loved one continue to harm themselves difficult enough, but it’s very difficult to gauge how they’ll react to what you’re saying. Avoidance and anger are all part of the game, but that doesn’t make things any easier. The thought of having to deal with an addict’s outbursts can trigger some serious anxiety.
Unfortunately, if you care about someone addicted to drugs or alcohol talking to them about getting help needs to happen. The fact that someone is an addict doesn’t make you care about them any less. In fact, it might make you feel even more compelled to help them along the dark path they are stuck on.
While your loved one is the only person that can decide if they will, in fact, get help, it’s often necessary that they hear it first from someone else. How do you go about it though? Knowing how (and when) to bring up the subject of treatment will make the process much easier.
4 Ways to Talk to Your Loved One About Getting Help
Before you sit down to talk to your loved one, be aware that it’s going to take some patience and planning. This isn’t a talk that’s going to happen overnight. Being prepared is one of the smartest things you can do in this situation–and careful planning is vital.
Here are a few things you can do to be prepared to talk to your loved one about their addiction.
- Don’t Pass Judgment
When trying to talk to your loved one about getting help, it’s crucial that you leave out any judgment. Any form of judgment your loved one feels will make them immediately defensive. Even if you feel a certain way about their lifestyle or behaviors, do not let your loved one know. They’re still the same person, even though you might feel like you’re talking to a stranger. Keep your feelings to yourself and do your best to remain partial to the situation.
- Talk to Them When They’re Sober
Although extremely difficult to do, talking to your loved one when they’re sober is very important. Periods of sobriety are when an addict is at their worst. Without drugs or alcohol, moods can be dark and emotions very negative. It’s best to try to talk to them in the morning or after a period when you know that they haven’t been using. This is often the only way you will get straight and honest answers. While high, many addicts talk about changing this or that, and it seems easy in the moment. But after the drugs have worn off is when you will get the best, and more honest, answers about what your loved one really wants to do.
- Be Clear How Their Addiction Makes You Feel
You need to know that the reality your addicted loved one lives in is much different than the one you do. Most addicts can only think about themselves and getting their next fix. They really have no idea how hard their addiction becomes for the people that love them. Don’t pretend to be stronger than you are. Let them know exactly how their addiction is affecting you and other people that care about them. Don’t try to protect their feelings, and make sure to be 100 percent honest with your emotions. You can do this without judging them. It’s important to remain strong, yet let them know just how distressing their addiction has become.
- Remain Patient
There’s nothing more frustrating than trying to talk to someone who has become an addict. They tend to not only deny their problem, but they can be particularly unreasonable as well. Be prepared to experience a myriad of emotions from your loved one and do your best to remain patient no matter what kind of attitude may arise. If they yell, stay calm. If they cry, remain strong. Your patience will only help you get through to your loved one more easily.
Don’t be surprised if the person you’re trying to talk to doesn’t immediately respond to what you’re trying to say. It’s not uncommon for an addict to take the people that care about them for granted. Persistence is important. If they don’t take kindly to what you’re trying to say, realize that this is a process that could take a few times to get right.
Having a conversation with your loved one regarding their addiction isn’t going to be easy. You might already know this from previous attempts to help. Planning makes perfect, however, and when you know the right way to approach the situation it can make a big difference. And, although you might be met with opposition at first, know that with enough preparation and persistence the conversation you have has the potential to turn your loved one’s life around in a positive way and give them the hope they need to change and move forward.