Having a discussion with a loved one about their addiction may seem like a difficult task, but in many cases, it is a necessary one. The truth is it’s never going to be a piece of cake, but the good news is having a conversation with a drug addict about their problem can make a difference in their recovery. Sometimes just knowing that someone cares is enough to motivate a person to get help. That being said, there are some things you can do to help you prepare for the conversation.
Being supportive is critical. Let your loved one know that you are coming from a place of concern, and you are there for them. Regardless of how you feel about their drug abuse, it’s important to stay calm and avoid using harsh or aggressive language.
Try to stay focused on “I” statements as much as possible, avoiding accusatory “you” statements. For example, saying something like, “I love you and support you, but what I can’t support is your behavior when you drink/use drugs” is more productive than, “When you drink, you become mean.”
Don’t be judgmental.
Trying to make an addict feel bad or guilty about substance abuse is rarely useful, according to HealthLine. Most of the time, they know they’re hurting themselves. However, sometimes they aren’t aware of just how much their addiction hurts others. It is important to help them understand how they are doing this without being judgmental. Telling them how you feel when they come in late or yell at you or the children helps them see things from another perspective. If they can realize how they are hurting others, they may be more responsive to getting help.
Plan the discussion when they’re sober.
Your loved one needs to be sober when you talk to them about their problem. If they’re under the influence, they may be less likely to understand your concern and more likely to be dishonest. Try talking to them in the morning or some other time when you know they will be clear-headed.
Be prepared for refusal and denial.
Don’t be surprised if your loved one doesn’t respond positively. Breaking a drug addiction is tough — mentally and physically. How much you want to help someone doesn’t matter if they are not willing to help themselves.
Your loved one might deny being an addict or insist they can stop any time they chose. On the other hand, they may admit they have a substance abuse problem but refuse help from you or anyone else. Be prepared for these kinds of reactions and have a rational response for them.
Let them know about consequences.
If your loved one refuses to seek treatment after you’ve explained the damage their drug abuse is doing, they may need to be reminded what is at stake. Let them know, as gently as possible, that there are consequences for not getting help. These ramifications might include moving out of the house until they are ready to seek treatment or, if you’re dealing with a teen, losing their vehicle or phone privileges. By helping them envision a potentially worse future, they may be more open to treatment.
Suggest treatment options.
At the end of the day, your loved one getting help is the ultimate goal. Discussing the benefits of treatment is one way to help an addict realize there is hope, according to Psychology Today. Let them know they don’t have to fight addiction alone. Believe it or not, when some people realize that they have access to a support system for their drug abuse, they are relieved and even hopeful.
Odyssey Recovery is an option for men who are ready to make a change. Our drug rehab program in Orange County, California, offers individualized treatment programs that allow clients to receive the treatment that works for them. Call us at 1(800) 823-8640 to help your loved one get started with their recovery.