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How to Talk to Your Loved One About Addiction
There are countless diseases that can completely alter the landscape of one’s life, as well as the lives of those who they love. One of those diseases is addiction.
Addiction is known for how complex, difficult, and heartbreaking it can be. Of the 21 million Americans who grapple with active addiction today, there are millions more who are impacted by their use. In many cases, those people are the ones closest to them, such as parents, siblings, friends, and children. If you are one of the millions of families that are living with addiction within your households, know that you are not alone. Know that there are countless others who are experiencing the very things you are at this exact moment. Most importantly, know that you do not need to be afraid of “rocking the boat” by talking to your loved one about addiction.
When is the Right Time to Talk to My Loved One About Their Addiction?
It can be easy to push off having a discussion with a loved one about their addiction, especially when your loved one is deep in the throes of use. You may be fearful that if you bring up the subject, your loved one will lash out at you or others or run off to use even more drugs or alcohol than before. But the truth is, the more you avoid having this important conversation, the longer you enable your loved one’s continued substance abuse.
So, when is the right time to talk to my loved one about their addiction? Consider the following:
When your loved one is addicted to drugs or alcohol, there really is no “good” time to bring up your concerns about their use. All you can do is try to find the most optimal moment to have this conversation in hopes of gaining the most out of it.
- Try to single out a time when you know your loved one will be sober or the least under the influence. This can be difficult, especially if your loved one is always using, but attempting to talk with them when they are of the clearest mind possible is most effective.
- Attempt to hold this conversation when your loved one is in a reasonable mood. Do not try to bring this up in the middle of an argument, as doing so can cause the message to be completely lost in the midst of big emotions.
- Consider getting your loved one to see a therapist with you and have that conversation during a session. Having a rational moderator who has no stake in the game oversee this conversation can be highly beneficial.
How Do I Talk to My Loved One About Addiction?
Know that you know when you might be able to talk with your loved one about your concerns, it is important to know how to go about it. More often than not, these conversations occur passive-aggressively between a family member and the user and nothing ever gets accomplished. That is because addiction can create so much resentment, anger, and hostility that it can be hard to see past those feelings. But, if you want to have a productive conversation with your loved one, try to recognize the value of rising above those emotions for the betterment of all involved.
So, how do you talk to your loved one about something this serious without making the situation worse? There are several things you can do, including the following:
Spend time researching the disease of addiction prior to having this conversation with your loved one. Doing so can help you gain a strong understanding about what they are experiencing. The more information you have, the better able you will be to help.
- Do not judge your loved one — Addicts and alcoholics already feel the pressure of being judged by everyone around them, even if they are not being judged. Addiction can feel shameful and cause users to think that people think less of them. So, when you approach your loved one, do so without any judgment so that you can quickly help them come off the defense and a positive conversation can occur.
- Tell your loved one that you love them — Express your emotions for your loved one. Tell them how much you love and care for them and let them know that seeing them grapple with addiction has you very concerned. Speak kindly and lovingly.
- Offer your support — Let your loved one know that you are not there to force them into anything, nor are you there to argue with them. You are attempting this conversation because you love them and want to be there to offer your support. Let them know that you will help facilitate obtaining treatment whenever they want. Keep the lines of communication open so that they have someone to turn to when they start hovering over rock bottom (or hit it head on).
How to Deal With a Loved One’s Addiction
Dealing with a loved one’s addiction is a draining, overwhelming process. Simply watching someone you love toe the line between life and death can be traumatizing, nevermind being affected on a daily basis by their use. As much as you want to help them, you also need to find out how to deal with a loved one’s addiction for yourself. You can do this by:
You cannot help someone else if you are not well yourself. That is why figuring out how to deal with a loved one’s addiction is vital not only for you but for them as well.
- Attending local Al-Anon or Nar-Anon meetings in your community
- Seeing a therapist regularly
- Leaning on your close friends for support
- Practicing good self-care
- Setting boundaries for yourself
Need Help? Call Us Today.
If you have a loved one that is addicted to drugs or alcohol, know that there is help available. Call us right now to learn more about our programming and how we can be of service. You do not need to go through this alone. Call us today.