If you have a friend struggling with addiction, you are probably wondering what you can do to help. The truth is that helping someone battling with addiction is not easy. Just broaching the topic can feel uncomfortable. However, there are things that you can do to start the conversation and help your friend go down the path of getting the treatment they need.
It Starts with a Conversation
The first step is just getting the conversation started. When you talk to your friend about their substance abuse problem, try to start the conversation when they are not under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If your friend is not sober during the conversation, they are less likely to react positively. Or they won’t remember the conversation. This is not just a simple chat. This is a deep conversation that will take more than a couple of minutes. You can set the pace for the conversation by inviting them to a neutral place where both of you feel comfortable. Remember, you want to have a conversation. Don’t invite your friend for a lecture.
You need to walk the fine line between detailing the dangerous behaviors you have observed and rattling off a list of things you feel your friend is doing wrong. The tone of the conversation should be your desire to help, not condemn. In your mind, think about what you want to accomplish with this conversation. For example, “We love you, and we want you to get help.” Find ways to repeat that positive message repeatedly. For the conversation to be meaningful, you need to offer actionable options to your friend. Bring information about a rehab program. Find out exactly how the program works and what steps your friend needs to take to start treatment.
Care for Yourself
Trying to help a friend who has a drug abuse problem can leave you feeling exhausted. You might feel like you have to carry the entire weight of your friend’s burden on your shoulders. This is especially true if your friend confided in you that their drug use is related to some traumatic experience they had in the past. Take care of yourself. If you need to talk to someone about the challenges you are facing trying to help your friend, do so. You can’t help someone if you are exhausted. Even if your friend knows they have a drug problem, it can be challenging for them to change. You have to set realistic expectations. It would be best if you were patient. If your friend is not ready to get the help you know they need, you can still help them by not minimizing how their drug use impacts them and others.
Support Your Friend Through Addiction Recovery
Don’t expect that one conversation is going to fix the problem miraculously. You are likely to have many conversations with your friend about their drug use. There is no such thing as a quick fix to addiction. You may need to have multiple conversations before they even accept that they have a problem. If you can achieve that goal, you helped your friend with their first step on the road to recovery.
Encourage your friend to get help. The more support your friend has throughout the process, the better their chances for success. Be there for your friend when they call a helpline. Go with them to a doctor’s appointment or counseling session. Be there for them when they first check into a rehabilitation program. Part of helping your friend through their addiction, detox, and recovery process is to accept the fact that they might relapse. Despite all of your hard work and your loved one’s best intentions, relapse is part of the bargain. If it happens, be a good friend and encourage them to recommit to getting clean. It may take multiple tries for them to make sobriety a permanent part of their life. Stay patient. Use each opportunity as a way to show your friend that you care for them and you are committed to them getting better.
Helping a friend who is battling with addiction can take a heavy emotional toll. It can also negatively impact your finances. Set boundaries for yourself and your friend. Setting boundaries won’t cure your friend of their addiction, but it will keep you in a place where you can continue to be of assistance. Are you currently helping a friend who is battling addiction? We can help. Call us today at 833-497-3808.