When you have a close friend who is struggling with addiction, it can be painful and challenging to watch the destruction they experience. If you’re unsure of how to approach the situation and interact as they have an addiction, there are a few main steps to take.
Establishing trust with a close friend is essential as they struggle with addiction to ensure they’re still open to your suggestions and guidance. Avoid nagging or criticizing them, which can make them become defensive and feel judged. You also want to avoid exaggerating or calling them names, which can lead to the individual distancing themselves from your relationship.
Communication is key to getting your friend the help you need and helping them realize the severity of the situation. It can also allow them to be supported if they’re ready to seek professional help. Remain honest about your feelings and don’t try to sugarcoat your emotions to ensure the individual understands how their addiction has personally affected you.
Discover Treatment Options
When your friend suffers from alcohol or opioid addiction, you can offer your help by finding treatment options that are available. Contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration National Helpline to learn about treatment facilities in the area. Consider finding a facility that is covered by your friend’s insurance. They may need in-patient facilities depending on the severity of their addiction and how long they’ve struggled with substance abuse. Out-patient services are also an option if the individual can’t take time off work and needs to maintain some responsibilities in their life.
If they decide to pursue treatment options on their own, respect their decision without giving your input unless they ask for it. Practice patience and understand that it can take time to recover from an addiction. It may also take several months before your friend is ready to commit to seeking treatment and pursuing sobriety.
Many people make the mistake of enabling the person struggling with addiction out of love or care for the individual. Unfortunately, this can cause the person to continue using and can put their life at risk. It’s important to show your love but still establish boundaries. Don’t give money or offer to purchase drugs or alcohol. You also want to avoid making excuses for the individual.
It’s also necessary to avoid rescuing the individual when they need help. Don’t pay their court fines or help them with paying their rent. Rescuing your friend can prevent them from realizing how their addiction affects all areas of their life and can push them further into the problem if you always give them a way out.
Knowing how to deal with a friend going through addiction can help you to become more educated and handle the situation with care. Not only will you feel more equipped to handle the problem, but you can also avoid enabling the individual or causing more strain on the relationship.