5 Ways to Help a Friend With a Drug Addiction

Tue, Jun 22, 2021 By Anonymous

5 Ways to Help a Friend With a Drug Addiction

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Having a loved one struggle with a drug addiction can be overwhelming. Your desire to help absolutely comes from the right place, but it can feel impossible to know what do or how to help. Saying the wrong thing, or bringing the wrong attitude, always has the possibility to do more harm than good, since the person is most likely at a super volatile place. But the fear and concern of leaving them without support is just as real. Ultimately, if you have a friend in need and can help, you should. Still, addiction often leaves its victims separating themselves from friends entirely.

When it becomes possible to break through that distance, the right words and actions matter. Here are few steps to take when approaching and supporting a friend in need.

Find them when they’re sober.

If possible, avoid having conversations about your friend’s need to change their behavior while they’re under the influence of drugs. People are less likely to hear the logic behind quitting while under the influence, and also tend to make promises that don’t stick. Anger, poor impulse control, and irrational behavior are also possibilities. Talk to them when they’re sober for a real, honest discussion.

Explain your feelings.

It’s important to express real, sincere concern to start. Let your friend know that you’re worried, that you love them, and that you’re here for them, not you, or their image, or anything else: you just want them to be safe. Using phrases like “I noticed,” or “I’m worried” is another recommended tactic when trying to help a friend, since your own feelings are harder to argue with, and belong totally to you. It also takes away the idea that you’re the expert, which can be disputed pretty quickly by someone with an addiction, especially if you’ve never been through a similar situation. Letting them know that you’re concerned, rather than judgmental, is always the way to go.

Be specific.

Specific, unavoidable scenarios are important to discuss, and probably something your friend has been avoiding. Bringing up exact scenarios where you’ve been aware of the negative impact of their addiction — cancelled plans, broken promises — can help you explain why you’re worried, and fight off the urge to dispute your concern as overreacting.

Group intervention may be the way to go.

If you and others, such as family members, are able to openly communicate about your friend’s problem, a safe, welcoming group intervention might be a possibility when confronting your friend. Just make sure you’re all on the same page: you’re here to help, not to blame or trap. Love and compassion can turn a room into a safe space, while anger and blame immediately make it a hostile environment for the person you’re trying to help.

Remember that your friend’s problem is the enemy, not your friend.

A person with an addiction is not a bad person. They’re someone who has fallen into a very dark place, and they may need your help to get out. You’re here to get them to a place where they’ll be safe, healthy, and on the road to recovery. While it may be necessary to use ultimatums or be stern with your desire for them to get treatment, it’s essential that you approach them with love, compassion, and the understanding that the drugs are the villain here, not your friend.



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