How to Support a Friend
How to Support a Friend

Those who know someone struggling with addiction often wonder how to help an addicted friend or family member. The decision to try and get help for someone you think is suffering from addiction is never an easy one. Fortunately, with your support, he has a better chance of overcoming his addiction problem. Every situation is unique, but there are some general guidelines to help you tackle this task.

To do
Focus on building trust
Be honest
respect privacy

what not to do
To threat
expect immediate change

expect difficulties
There are several reasons why helping a loved one with their addiction is difficult:

  • You may not accept that you have a problem.
  • You may not want to change your way of life.
  • You may fear the consequences (such as losing your job).
  • He may feel embarrassed, and not want to talk about it with you.
  • You may feel uncomfortable discussing your personal problems with a professional.
  • You may be using as a way to avoid dealing with other problems.
  • There is no quick and easy way to help someone who uses drugs. Overcoming an addiction requires a lot of will, determination and professional assistance. Making him aware of his problem can be difficult.

However, there are steps that can help you make long-term changes and help you cope with having a loved one with addiction.


Step 1: Establish trust

This can be difficult to do if the addicted person has already betrayed your trust. However, trust in both directions is an important first step in helping you think about change. Trust is easily undermined, even when you are trying to help.

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Avoid these trust destroyers:

Overwhelming persistence and criticism of the addicted person.
Yelling, cursing, and overreacting (even when you’re stressed yourself).
Perform addictive behaviors yourself, even moderate (he will think you are a hypocrite).
Note that:

Even if you only want to help the addicted person, you may think that you are trying to control them, which can lead them to increase their addictive behavior.

You may be using as a way to deal with stress. If the atmosphere with you is stressful, they will seek to concretize their addictive behavior even more, not less.

Building trust is a two-sided process. Trust is not established by putting up with bad behavior. If you don’t trust your loved one and feel like you can’t establish one right away, you should read Step 2.

People suffering from addiction rarely change until there is some consequence to their behavior. Don’t try to shield the addicted person too much from the consequences of their own actions (unless they endanger themselves or others, such as drunk driving).

Step 2: Get help for yourself first

Being in a relationship with a person who has an addiction is usually stressful. Accepting that you are experiencing stressful situations and that you need help to deal with them is an important step in helping your loved one, as well as yourself.

Step 3: Get in touch

Although you may be tempted to let your loved one know that their addiction is a problem and that they need to change, the decision to change is yours. He’s more likely to be open to considering change if you communicate honestly in a way that doesn’t feel threatened.

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Step 4: The Treatment Process

If you want the person to change, you probably have to change too, even if you don’t have addictions. If you show that you are willing to change, the addict will probably try to change too.

You must be involved in the treatment
Remember to keep working to establish trust.
Be honest about your feelings, what you want to happen, and what your loved one’s addiction has been to you.
Don’t blame, criticize or humiliate the addicted person in confrontations, just say what it has been like for you.
Don’t be surprised if your loved one says that things you do contribute to their addiction. Try to listen with an open mind.
Respect their privacy in your therapy. If he doesn’t want to talk about it, don’t pressure him to tell you what happened.
There are several ways in which you can help an addict, you can request assistance from a professional in our outpatient treatment center .

Remember that change does not happen overnight.
The video below may be of great help. The testimony of a mother whose son underwent rehabilitation treatment in our inpatient center and has been sober for more than 10 years.