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How to Speak With Someone About Getting Them Help for Addiction

by Nick

Communication is a key component of friendship, families and romantic relationships. The ability to share thoughts and feelings is foundational to any healthy bond. Sadly, addiction breeds deceit and mistrust, often leading to broken ties between loved ones. If you want to encourage your loved one to get help for addiction, you must talk to them first — but how?

Speaking to a loved one about their struggle with drugs can be awkward, difficult or even scary. Here are five ways to gently start a conversation with someone who needs help for addiction.

1. Be Kind, Concerned and Loving

Your loved one needs to know that you still care about them — no matter how severe their addiction is. Kindness and compassion must be at the heart of your conversation. Because of the stigma surrounding addiction, your loved one may expect to be insulted, belittled, criticized and ultimately rejected. While you don’t have to accept their behavior, showing them that you still care through your words and actions can help build a bridge that guides your loved one toward recovery.

2. Listen and Hear Their Concerns

Those struggling with addiction may find it difficult to hear what you have to say. They may deny there’s an issue or get angry and defensive. That’s why one of the best ways to speak with someone about their addiction is to not speak at all. Instead, listen.

Ask questions to keep the conversation flowing. Let them confide in you about what’s really going on. Don’t interrupt or criticize. Allowing your loved one to speak freely can help them feel less alone, and it may be the key to them recognizing that they have a problem.

3. Set Boundaries

Your loved one needs to know that you see their addiction and you don’t accept it. If they don’t know how much their behavior bothers you, they’ll have no reason to change. Be clear and prepare to set boundaries. These limits should not be not empty threats or punishments. If your loved one is unwilling to change, gently tell them that you will not live with them or stick around while they’re engaging in substance misuse. Then, be ready to follow through.

4. Be Flexible and Supportive

Change is necessary as your loved one takes that next step toward recovery. You can help them make these changes. However, be flexible and willing to do it their way. Offer to support them without dictating what they must do. As long as the outcome is moving out of addiction toward recovery, there’s generally no harm in following their strategy. Recovery is more effective when it is the person with the addiction motivating the change.

5. Guide Them Toward Professional Addiction Services

Many people are ashamed of their addiction. They feel as though they must overcome it alone so no one finds out. However, professional addiction recovery programs ensure your loved one has the resources they need to make a more successful recovery.

If you know someone who struggles with opioid addiction, whether it’s prescription pain pills or heroin, HealthCare Resource Centers can help. We offer medication-assisted treatment combined with counseling and other services to those fighting to break free from opioid use disorder. If you’re preparing to speak to your loved one about their addiction, contact us today to find out about our treatment options.

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