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How to help someone with an addiction

By Rhea Rosier

March 12th, 2012

 

In order to help someone with an addiction the person you are trying to help first must be willing to accept the help you are trying to offer. It is hard when trying to help someone with an addiction because if they are not willing to accept the help, there will not be too much you can do. Each situation is unique though when it comes to helping someone with an addiction. The best way to approach the situation is to expect to difficulties to arise and move forward as best you can with a positive attitude. Someone with a drug or alcohol problem, that you are trying to help, may not agree that they have a problem. Along with that, in order to help someone with an addiction you have to get past the fact that they may not want to change what they are doing, may be embarrassed or ashamed, or engaging in addiction in order to to deal with problems in what they think is an effective way.

The first step to help someone with an addiction is to establish trust with the person you are trying to help.  The way you can do this is to help someone with an addiction is to avoid nagging, name calling and engaging in addictive behaviors yourself. As hard as it may be to establish trust with the person you are trying to help with an addiction because they have betrayed you so many times, this is essential in helping the addict or alcoholic. The three things you must avoid are paramount because as soon as you start to nag or name call the addict or alcoholic will shut down. Engaging in addictive behaviors yourself will just allow the person you are trying to help with an addiction call you a hypocrite.

The second step to help someone with an addiction is to get help for your own self. This is very important in helping someone with an addiction. A lot of the times the people in a relationship with someone who is addicted, have stopped taking care of themselves, this does not make them very helpful to the person using. You must take care of yourself firstly and most importantly.

 

The treatment process to help someone with an addiction will vary according to the kind of treatment your loved one is getting.

If you are involved in your loved one’s treatment:

  • Remember to keep working on establishing trust. Re-read Step 1 before going to counseling with your loved one.
  • Be honest about your feelings, what you want to happen, and what the addiction has been like for you.
  • Do not blame, criticize or humiliate your loved one in counseling. Simply say what it has been like for you.
  • Do not be surprised if your loved one says that things you are doing are contributing to their addiction. Try to listen with an open mind.
  • If you want them to change, you will probably have to change too, even if you don’t have an addiction. If you show you are willing to try, your loved one will be more likely to try as well.

If your loved one has treatment alone:

  • Respect their privacy in everyday life. Do not inform friends, family or others about your loved one’s treatment.
  • Respect their privacy in therapy. If they don’t want to talk about it, don’t push for them to tell you what happened.
  • There are many different approaches to the challenge of how to help addicts, but remember, change does not happen overnight.

 

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