Always remember in order to help a person struggling with an addiction to drugs or alcohol you have to receive help and support yourself first, or you can't be successful in helping them see their need for change. The damaging effects of substance abuse don't just affect the addicted person, their addiction and destructive behaviors affect the people who love and care about them deeply too.
Addiction Group Support
It's emotionally and physically draining to watch a loved one or friend destroy their life with alcohol or drugs and their negative and aggressive behaviors begin to change the person you are inside at the same time. Surrounding yourself with others that have also been affected by someone else's use of drugs or alcohol can make a big difference in your life at this time, which you will find when attending an Al-Anon or Nar-Anon Family Group meeting.
You also have to educate yourself about addiction, relapse and the recovery process because you need to fully understand the nature of the illness and the necessary steps a person needs to take in order to obtain abstinence and long term recovery. The more knowledge you have about the effects of substance abuse and addiction the more equipped you'll be in helping an your loved on or friend recognize their need for treatment, but you have to be emotionally healthy first yourself.
Develop Trust With the Addict
Getting someone you love or care about to recognize their need for treatment if they have a drinking problem or drug addiction isn't an easy task. When you're talking to a loved one or friend trying to get them to see their need for help, you both have to develop a trust with each other. Understandably, this isn't easy to do especially if they have already betrayed your trust. The addict has to trust what you're saying about their destructive behaviors though, and you need to be able to believe they're listening and being honest with you as well.
Avoid Damaging Trust With the Addict
If a person is addicted to drugs or alcohol and you want to help them recognize the fact that they need to obtain treatment, there are things you need to avoid if you want them to continue to trust what you're telling them. Once you have an addicts trust, the following behaviors can destroy it immediately.
Even if you're stressed out, don't do anything to damage an addict's trust in you so they will continue to believe what you're saying.
- Don't nag
- Don't criticize
- Don't lecture
- Don't yell
- Don't exaggerate
- Avoid name calling
If you don't want them to think you're a hypocrite, don't drink, use drugs or participate in any other addictive behaviors yourself.
You might be tempted to let your loved one know that their addiction is a problem and that they need to change, but you have to remember the decision is theirs to make. Keep the lines of communication open with the individual you're hoping will recognize their need for treatment. When you communicate with a loved one honestly about their use of drugs or alcohol in a non-threatening way, they're much more apt to listen to what you're saying and consider seeking help on their own.