Some suggestions to get started:
- Learn all you can about alcohol and drug misuse and addiction.
- Speak up and offer your support: talk to the person about your concerns, and offer your help and support, including your willingness to go with them and get help. Like other chronic diseases, the earlier addiction is treated, the better.
- Express love and concern: don’t wait for your loved one to “hit bottom.” You may be met with excuses, denial or anger. Be prepared to respond with specific examples of behavior that has you worried.
- Don’t expect the person to stop without help: you have heard it before – promises to cut down, stop – but, it doesn’t work. Treatment, support, and new coping skills are needed to overcome addiction to alcohol and drugs.
- Support recovery as an ongoing process: once your friend or family member is receiving treatment, or going to meetings, remain involved. Continue to show that you are concerned about his/her successful long-term recovery.
Some things you don’t want to do:
- Don’t preach: Don’t lecture, threaten, bribe, preach or moralize.
- Don’t be a martyr: Avoid emotional appeals that may only increase feelings of guilt and the compulsion to drink or use other drugs.
- Don’t cover up, lie or make excuses for his/her behavior.
- Don’t assume their responsibilities: taking over their responsibilities protects them from the consequences of their behavior.
- Don’t argue when using: avoid arguing with the person when they are using alcohol or drugs; at that point he/she can’t have a rational conversation.
- Don’t feel guilty or responsible for their behavior; it’s not your fault.
- Don’t join them: don’t try to keep up with them by drinking or using.
The information in this publication is for informational use only and has been taken from the American Psychiatric Association website: https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/ addiction/what-is-addiction Adapted from: National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence.