Addiction is a serious problem that affects millions of families every day. If you have a friend or family member who is suffering from addiction, you need to step up as soon as possible. Otherwise, they may end up ruining their life. In worse cases, they may even end up dead. Starting a conversation about getting treatment is intimidating. You never know how the person will react. Follow these steps to help make the conversation go as smoothly as possible.
Talk One On One First
A conversation about getting addiction treatment is a sensitive topic. It can make the person with the problem very uncomfortable. Do your best to limit the awkwardness by talking to them one on one. This won’t make the feel bombarded or attacked. When you decide to talk, make sure that it’s in a non-chaotic environment when you have plenty of time. You don’t want to rush this conversation. You also don’t want a lot of commotion around to distract your loved one or give them an excuse to end the conversation. You also want to have this conversation when the person is as coherent as possible. If your loved one doesn’t respond to an individual conversation, it might be time to get other people involved. However, you should not do that until you speak to them individually first.
When you get ready to have a conversation about addiction, you probably spend some time thinking about everything that you want to say. When you have the conversation, you may start to go on with every little point you wanted to talk to them about. In this situation, you may forget to listen during all of your talking. Your responsibility during this conversation is to listen to your loved one. It may be difficult for them to open up about the topic, and you don’t want to cut them off when they finally feel comfortable enough to talk. Despite your own personal feelings, show the self-control to listen instead of talk. When they are done talking, address their concerns before you go on about your own feelings.
Be a Good Example
None of us are perfect. However, when we know someone with an addiction problem, it’s especially important to remain a good influence around them to discourage any of their destructive behavior. In order to connect to a loved one, some people try to have this conversation over a drink or even a joint, thinking that it’s innocuous. Many people with addiction must learn to stay entirely clean, so this isn’t helpful. Even if you yourself don’t have a problem, show your support by not drinking or doing drugs in front of your loved one at all. Discourage others from doing it, too. Especially if the person hasn’t entered treatment yet, the temptation is greater than they themselves may even realize.
Talk About Options
When you get ready to talk to your loved one, the goal should be to get them into treatment. It’s one thing to talk about going to treatment. It’s a different thing to actually put plans into action. Be ready with a plan. Don’t let the conversation end with a promise of going to treatment some point in the near future. Have literature ready with treatment programs that might interest your friend. It’s a good idea to have literature for a variety of different programs so that you can pick which one will be the best together. People may object to treatment saying that they can’t afford it or can’t abandon their vocational or familial duties. It’s important to have treatment plans ready that accommodate these concerns.
While inpatient treatment may be the best option, consider having some outpatient options ready as a backup. When you prove that anyone can get treatment with any schedule and income, you get down to the real reason why they might not want to go. Helping your loved one fight addiction can save their life. Have the conversation as soon as possible to prevent any additional damage. Being as kind an understanding as possible during the conversation can help encourage them that help can really improve their life. Your goal is to end the conversation with a phone call at 866-300-6707 or a drive to a treatment facility.
Medically Reviewed: September 25, 2019
All of the information on this page has been reviewed and verified by a certified addiction professional.