Alcohol and drug addiction does not just hurt the person afflicted with the disease. The truth is, addiction often hurts the family members, friends, and loved ones of those suffering just as much. One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with drug and alcohol addiction is unquestionably talking to the loved one about their problem.
Here we will go over some strategies for approaching a loved one suffering from a drug or alcohol problem.
Deflection is one of the most often-used defense tactics those suffering from addiction will employ to remove the focus off the problem at hand. They may cite a whole host of reasons other than the addiction as the source of their problems.
They may even deflect blame for their problems directly on to you, in an effort to defend and deflect the addiction itself. It is crucial, however, to stay focused on the exact problem at hand: the drug or alcohol addiction the person is suffering from.
Come from a place of love rather than anger
Alcoholism and addiction causes those afflicted to do truly horrible things that often go against their nature. To make matters worse, it is often those closest to them that undergo the worst of this treatment. Despite how difficult it may be, however, it is important to approach them with love rather than anger.
Anger will often cause them to immediately become defensive, which will typically result in nothing more than a shouting match. Approaching in a calm, loving (but firm) manner is much more likely to start a dialogue with the end goal of them receiving help in mind.
Remember the big picture
It is often easy to get lost in the many details and events that surround drug and alcohol addiction. These include lost jobs, broken relationships, legal trouble, and many other similar consequences. While these certainly are crucial to recognize, it is important to remain focused on the big picture- that all these problems result from the underlying drug and alcohol addiction.
Rather than getting bogged down on temporary “band-aids” (getting a new job, for example), dealing with the drug and alcohol problem should remain the main goal.
Make clear that change is required
Love for someone suffering from addiction or alcoholism can often inadvertently lead to enabling behaviors. These are often simply the result of human nature and the desire to help a loved one in need. They are, however, utterly toxic for both the addict and the loved one. Thus, it is important for the loved one to have a firm understanding of these behaviors, and when approaching the addict or alcoholic, to make clear that these behaviors are no longer going to occur.
Have a firm plan and goal beforehand
The plain truth is that drug addiction and alcoholism is not simply solved by making a decision to stop. If willpower alone were all that was required, most alcoholics and addicts would have recovered long ago. The truth is, seldom if any ever recover alone. Thus, it is important having a firm plan for treatment in place before approaching the addict/alcoholic. Encouraging them to seek professional help is often the first step in them achieving long-term sobriety.
This article is intended for those considering a new way of life, free of the pain of drug and alcohol addiction. For more information on recovery and anyone seeking help with addiction and substance abuse problems, please call True Recovery at (844) 744-8783 or visit us online.