Helping Someone With Addiction


Where to Start?

Reaching out to aid an individual suffering from addiction is not very easy. In fact, close family members and friends will often turn a blind eye and hope that the individual will eventually change. However, addiction persists, and denial further prevents the person from evaluating the extent of his/her problem and its consequences. Addicted individuals can rarely make rational decisions, thus summoning friends, family and employers intervention.

Proper Approach

A loving, caring approach is often the best approach rather than a provocative one. You must not be confrontational or too persuasive. It will be a challenging endeavor since the person will tend to be hostile and defensive. You should stay cool and never sound accusing. Though you may be angry or frightened, you should be keen to avoid confrontations or unnecessary blame. Let them focus on what you say but not how you say it.

Express concern and Present the Facts

Be at the outset by expressing your sincere concerns and the very willingness to help them change for good. Elaborate the facts regarding addictions and be very specific on behavioral. You should be careful not to engage moral opinions and judgments.

Explain that they have an illness

Explain how addiction is a serious illness, rather than being a lack of willpower or a sign of moral weakness. Tell them how their condition could lead to a potentially fatal outcome. Help them recognize that abstinence is the sole cure for their illness. They’ll obviously need your help to achieve this.

Use leverage where possible

More leverage/bargaining power is essential in helping you set healthy boundaries. Don’t confuse this with common ‘threats’, you are bound to implement everything you say. As an employer, it may be necessary to offer the choice of immediate treatment or risk one’s career. This way, you are offering them a choice but not forcing them to seek help. Be firm and speak with the deepest concerns.

Engage other concerned people

You can achieve significantly more impact as a group rather than trying alone. Close friends and relatives could be involved. If every individual in the group presents specific facts, then the impact could be more powerful. Moreover, the group can act separately, with several people approaching the person sequentially. It’s also helpful to have the telephone numbers of professionals who provide ready treatment.

Offer Hope

Treatment and help are not just offered because the outcome is possibly hopeless. Addicts who recover are usually excellent results that come from continuous hope and counseling.

Recommend a self-help group

Recommend a suitable self-help group and offer to take your friend to one of their gatherings. Sober fellowship and support will quickly replace the isolation and lonely struggle. Though they may not like the experience, at first, encourage them to persevere. Attend a self-help group sessions, where people share experiences and solutions for you and you loved one.

Consider early intervention

Akin to every other illness, addiction can be best fought at the initial stages for an effective outcome. This fact is however assumed all too often, leading to a major crisis. Collusion at workplace becomes too frequent and addicted, underperforming employees are simply fired or given a handshake. Ignoring the problem could only lead to continued liver damage, brain damage, and poor prognosis.