How To Help Someone With A Substance Abuse Problem

As uncomfortable as it can be to think about drug use and alcohol abuse, it is important to educate yourself as much as possible if you know someone who may be addicted to these substances. By learning as much as you can about addiction, you can put yourself in a far better position to help.

Sometimes, it can be difficult to know which substances a person is using. It can also be hard to determine whether they are a casual user or an addict. By learning more about substance abuse, you can identify different behaviors or health problems that may help you identify the substances that are being used or that may make it easier to tell if someone is truly addicted.

Prioritize Your Safety

Drugs and alcohol can affect people differently. Oftentimes, people who are normally rational and calm can react in unexpected ways. In some cases, this means lashing out violently against the people around them. It is extremely important to prioritize your safety. If you or your family are at risk, find a safe place to go. Reach out to friends and family members for help if needed. There are also professional resources available that may be able to provide you with protection while you work on getting your loved one help.

Understand That Addiction Is A Disease

From an outside perspective, it can be difficult to understand why a person doesn’t just quit doing drugs or drinking alcohol. It is important to understand that addiction is a disease. When someone is an addict, they can’t control their behaviors. Even more importantly, you can’t control their behaviors. That’s not to say that you don’t have any power, however. As a friend or family member, you can avoid enabling the addict by no longer denying that there is a problem or ignoring their behavior. Instead, reach out to them and help them get the assistance that they need.

 

Focus On Recovery Rather Than Lecturing About Substance Abuse

Continually nagging someone to quit drinking or to stop doing drugs can make the problem worse. Instead of lecturing them, focus on why you believe treatment could help them. Make sure that they understand that you care deeply about them and that you only want what is best for them.

When you sit down to talk to them, let them know that their behaviors are concerning you. Give concrete examples of times when drugs or alcohol negatively affected them – both personally and professionally. Finally, follow-up with a plan for how they can get help.

Approach this conversation with an open mind, being as supportive as possible. At the same time, however, don’t allow them to sway your opinion.

It can be beneficial to have the contact information for a nearby treatment center or for a professional counselor on hand. That way, if the person does agree that they need help, you can reach out right away. Don’t give them a chance to change their mind.

The last thing that you want to do is come across as lecturing or talking down to the person about their addiction. This will only drive them further away. Instead, focus on the negative effects that their substance abuse is having on their life and on the lives of those around them.

How To Talk To An Addict

If someone’s addiction is negatively impacting your life, you may be feeling a wide range of emotions. It can be upsetting and can leave you feeling frustrated, angry, or embarrassed. It is important to acknowledge your feelings, no matter what they are suggest the experts at Sage Recovery Villa. You may also want to talk to the person to let them know how their actions are making you feel. In some cases, talking about your feelings can make it easier for them to talk about theirs. Just be sure to always respect the person and to listen carefully to whatever it is that they are saying.

Talking to them in this direct manner can force them to think about their actions. Remember, however – it is every bit as important to spend time listening as it is to spend time talking.

Don’t Forget About Your Needs

When someone that you care about is in the throes of an addiction, it is easy to fall into the trap of having your life revolve around them. It is important, however, to focus on your needs, as well. Take time to do things that you enjoy, putting aside any guilt. Remember – unless you are healthy and thinking clearly, you won’t be able to help the person anyway. If you are having trouble focusing on the things that you need to do, consider reaching out to someone for professional help.

Try To Avoid Playing The Blame Game

When someone succumbs to a substance abuse problem, it is easy to blame yourself. Keep in mind, however, that you can’t make anyone do anything. They are responsible for their own actions.

In some cases, the addict may even blame you for their behavior. Instead of focusing inward, they place the blame on all of the people around them. This is especially true if you are the one who brings up the problem. They may lash out by blaming you for their actions. The important thing to remember is that they alone are the ones who can decide how they want to behave.

A Closer Look At Codependency

Codependency and addiction go hand-in-hand. When you care about someone who has a substance abuse problem, it is easy to enable their behavior. You may try to hide the problem from others or cover up for them. You may give them money to help out or try to excuse their behavior. While it is difficult to see someone that you care about suffering, you should avoid these actions. All that they do is enable them to keep going with their addiction. If you stop supporting their addiction, they will eventually be forced to confront it. Even though it may feel like you are helping, you are actually just prolonging the problem. The less you enable the addict, the more quickly they can start recovering.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.
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