Dealing with an addiction can be difficult—it is a personal battle that only you yourself can truly win. Being on the sidelines of this battle can be just as frustrating, if not more so, especially if the addict in question is a close friend or family member.
Some think stopping a person’s addiction is as simple as saying “no” and taking drugs or other substances away, but this can spell a recipe for disaster, and even make the addiction worse. Discovering an addiction that a person has been hiding can also make them nervous or even upset, sometimes at you or themselves.
An addiction must be handled with caution, care, and love for the individual in the throes of substance abuse. If you want to truly help and assist the person suffering from it, you should consider following a couple of guidelines.
Give Constructive Criticism and Solutions
One of the worst ways you can handle someone’s addiction is to look at them under a judgmental eye and simply demand they stop. Not only does condemning your friend or family member make them feel awful about their addiction, but it can also make them defensive and causes the situation to become much harder to deal with.
What you can do instead is try to offer constructive criticism and solutions to them. Be realistic, but understanding. Try to explain and give ideas that are simple for them, but not putting too much pressure. Be willing to make compromises. In fact, participating with them through recovery or other methods of help can give them confidence and support through the process.
While it’s entirely possible that the situation could descend to a point that you may have to stage an intervention and give a little “tough love,” it is important not to start out that way. Be gentle, kind, willing, and available to help, but do not be afraid to retain honesty, both for your friend and yourself.
Listen to Them!
It is crucial to be honest to and critical of your friend in need; however, you cannot do so unless you listen to them earnestly and politely.
One of the key elements that many people miss and forget when they try to help someone out of an addiction is to listen to the addict. While they may be the person troubled with an addiction and, at times, are not fully aware of their actions and thoughts, this doesn’t mean they should be ignored.
If they are struggling with a task or are having a hard time, do not dismiss them. Be willing to listen to their problems and guide them through them. Find them the help they need, while keeping their happiness in mind. Make sure they feel safe, and don’t make them scared to come and talk to you. You need to provide them with a safe environment where they aren’t afraid to open up and talk about their problems.
Most importantly, be an active listener. You may be able to hear what your friend is saying, but, as the saying goes, “hearing” and “listening” are two different things. You must be willing to understand your loved one and where they are coming from to help them. It is fairly possible that you simply listening will not cure their addiction overnight, but it will certainly begin to steer them in the right direction.
If you need to reach out for help for a friend or a loved one, consider reaching out to your local Alcohol & Drug Addiction Program in Tennessee. You can also look into Discovery Place’s own recovery programs such as our 30 Day Residential Program in Burns, Tennessee. Call us at 1-800-725-0922.