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How to Help an Addict

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How to Help an Addict

If you’re wondering how you can help an addict, this post is for you.

a man struggling with addiction being helped by a loved one

Is someone you care about struggling with alcohol or drug abuse? At some point in our lives, all of us are touched by addiction, even if we aren’t the one struggling. Addiction touches partners, children, extended family, friends, coworkers, and the list goes on.

How to Help an Addict:

1. Take care of yourself first.

Because addiction touches all of us, it’s important to take care of yourself first. This sounds selfish but, similar to the safety guidelines on an airplane, put on your own oxygen mask before you help someone else with theirs. You can’t help your loved one if you are falling apart. Self-care includes tending to your own physical and emotional needs. Don’t be afraid to seek therapeutic support yourself.

2. Get educated.

It’s important to share your concerns with your loved one, but approach this conversation with care. It’s natural to be nervous. You don’t want to make matters worse. Before you approach them, do some research. Gather some support and treatment resources to offer them. Plan to meet with your loved one at a convenient time in a positive setting – somewhere you can talk openly and privately.

3. Establish trust through communication.

Talk from your heart. Share what you’ve observed and explain why you’re worried. Let them talk. Be a good listener. They might not agree with you. They might not want to change. Avoid getting angry. Do not lecture, shame, exaggerate, or make ultimatums. Try to remain calm and objective but be firm.

4. Encourage him or her to get help.

Share the resources you gathered. Talking with a professional can feel scary at first. Assure them they are not alone and that you will be there to support her. Offer to go with your loved one to a consultation. Remind them that a consultation is not an agreement to treatment.

5. Continue supporting his or her recovery.

If they seek treatment at any level, it’s important for you to stay involved. Support their active choices for ongoing care, support, and accountability. If they invite you, attend counseling sessions or recovery support groups.

While you cannot heal your loved one, your support will encourage their long-term recovery. Reach out to Wasatch for more information about how to help an addict. We’re here to help.