How does someone help a person with addiction?

If you know someone who is struggling with addiction, it can be difficult to know how to offer your help and guidance. Many people make mistakes that can enable the individual, while others can cause the person to put their defenses up. If you want to know how to help a person with addiction, there are a few important tips to follow to ensure the individual gets the help they need. Educating yourself and researching what tips to follow can allow you to feel more prepared for the circumstances and understand how to navigate them better. You can also remain close to the individual and maintain a relationship.

Avoid Enabling the Behavior

One of the most common mistakes many people make when they love someone who is struggling with addiction is to enable the behavior because they care about the individual. There are many ways you may unknowingly enable them and push them further into the addiction, which can include giving them money, making excuses for them, or even paying their legal fees or getting them out of jail. You can also enable them by:

  • Denying the addiction
  • Loaning money
  • Lending your vehicle or resources

Establish Trust

Establishing trust with your family member or friend is crucial to ensure you maintain contact and communication to ensure you can help them as much as possible. Establishing trust will help them remember that you have their best interest in mind and care about their well-being. Remain honest but don’t accuse or judge them. It’s also important to avoid calling them names. Remain respectful and communicate how their addiction affects you to ensure they understand the ramifications of their actions.

Educate Yourself About the Addiction

Doing your homework and researching the addiction can allow you to have more of an understanding of it. You may be misinformed about the symptoms or even some of the causes. By becoming more informed, it’ll be easier to understand how you can help and get more insight into what they’re going through. You can also understand common triggers and if stress or anxiety is related to the dependency on drugs, prescription medication, or alcohol. Becoming educated can also make it easier to address the issue and communicate your concerns. If an intervention is necessary, remain calm, and avoid sugarcoating your feelings to ensure the other person understands the severity of the situation.

Establish Boundaries

In most cases, you’ll need to establish boundaries when someone you know is struggling with addiction. It’s easy for different lines to be crossed, whether the person comes home too late, or they start to emotionally abuse you. Although you may not be able to control their behavior, establishing boundaries can allow you to protect yourself, especially if you continue to get hurt. Setting boundaries can also help the other person to understand that they have to take accountability for their actions and can’t mistreat or disrespect you.

Practice Self-Care

It can be easy to feel overwhelmed by someone else’s addiction, making it necessary to practice self-care. Take time for yourself, whether it means exercising, taking a walk outside, or eating healthy. It can also mean spending time with other people who value and care for you to ensure you feel emotionally supported and have an outlet. Self-care can allow you to handle the situation better and get through the challenges instead of taking on too much stress or anxiety.

Don’t Become Controlling

You may try to control the situation and force the individual to quit, but this won’t prove to be effective long-term. Understand that the other person has to want to get better for themselves, and forcing them to do anything isn’t a viable solution to the problem. Tough love doesn’t work as well as you may think and can cause the individual to relapse and develop an even stronger addiction or dependency on the substances. Using compassion is the best approach to ensure the individual feels supported and more empowered to overcome their challenges. Listen to what they have to say and acknowledge the pain they’re in to ensure they feel heard.

Don’t focus on guilt or shame, which can cause them to continue using drugs or alcohol as a way of coping with their feelings. Asking open questions can also help them process their addiction and become open to getting the help they need. Our counselors are available 24 hours a day when you need assistance and guidance. Call 833-497-3808.