Unfortunately, there are many things that can lead to an addiction – economic hardship, trauma, stress, jobs, grief and much more. More than likely you know someone who is battling addiction. If you do, you may want to help them, but just aren’t sure what you should say. This is a normal response and it’s okay to be confused. Let our Palm Beach Interventions team guide you in what to say to someone battling addiction.
I Am Here for You
Those who are battling addiction sometimes turn to alcohol and/or drugs to hide from themselves. They don’t want to feel isolated or like a victim any longer. In some cases, those who feel that nobody is there for them, will get drunk or high to hide from those feelings, as well.
If you know someone who has an addiction, one thing you can say to them is, “I am here for you.” You never know how much this could change their day or their life. The more people they have who are there for them and who truly care about them, the more they might see that an addictive lifestyle isn’t the way to go. This could be the one thing they need to encourage them to get addiction treatment.
Some of the ways you can prove to this person that you are there for them include:
- Calling them for at least 1 hour every week
- Visiting with them for a cup of coffee
- Going out to dinner or to the movies with them
- Doing a hobby or activity they enjoy
By doing these things along with letting your loved one know you are there for them, it can further help them to see that life is worth living without alcohol and drugs.
Are You Having a Difficult Time
It is important not to assume that you know what your loved one is feeling. That could put them further over the edge and actually cause them to get upset which could lead to more alcohol and/or drug abuse.
With this being said, it is okay to approach them with what you think they are feeling, but in a compassionate, gentle manner. For example, you could say something to the effect of, “I sense you are having a difficult time. Would you like to talk about it?”
Sometimes, when an addict realizes that their loved ones recognize how they are feeling, without them having to say something, they open up more than they would on their own. If you start to show your concern in this way, it may be what your loved one needs to tell you why they are struggling and what you can do to help.
Can I Go to a Meeting with You?
If your loved one is already in recovery, but they are still battling addictive tendencies and behaviors, it is still important to be there for them. Research shows that some people who are in recovery have a much better chance of continuing to go to AA or NA meetings if their loved one goes with them. So, if you believe that may be something your loved one needs, ask them if you can go to a meeting with them.
If they say no, respectfully understand their decision and just reiterate that you are there for them if they need.
Say You Are Struggling
It is okay to let your loved one know how you are feeling. In fact, they may be more willing to talk to you about the feelings you are having than how they are feeling.
If you believe this would be better for your loved one tell them, “I am struggling.” Let them know that you are struggling with a certain behavior or action of theirs. For example, you could say, “When you yell at me when you’re drinking, I assume you are angry with me which makes me feel scared or sad.” By expressing your feelings in a way that focuses on how you feel, you aren’t blaming or shaming them.
Hopefully, this method will get your loved one to open up about their drug and alcohol abuse habits.
Do You Want Help?
Depending on what state your loved one is in or what stage of recovery they are in, you might want to ask if they want your help. You could just ask an open-ended question such as, “How can I help you?” or you can ask “Do you want help?” The open-ended questions are more likely to get a more detailed response.
However, if your loved one says they don’t want or need your help, be sure to respect that. If you can do that, they are more likely to accept your help in the future when they actually want it.
In What Ways Can I Support You While You Are Battling Addiction
Is your loved one already in recovery? If so, that is great. However, it is important to remember that even those who are in recovery are still battling addiction. They need support now, probably more than ever before.
If this is the stage your loved one is in, ask them in what ways you can support them while they are battling addiction. You could say something like this, “How could I support you while you are in recovery?” Hopefully, they have learned in a treatment program or in recovery so far, that a support team is necessary to overcome addiction and will let you know how you can support them.
I Believe in You
It is important not to get on your loved one much about knowing they can get or stay clean and sober. This could put too much pressure or expectations on them which could lead to a relapse. However, you can let them know that you believe in their abilities in recovery – you believe they can stay sober, work through obstacles or overcome things in recovery. Saying that you believe in them is a much lighter statement than saying you know they can do this.
Things Not to Say
Now that you know some things that you can say to someone who is battling addiction, let’s go over a few things not to say to someone with an addiction. Some of these things include:
- Let’s get a drink
- Can you come to my party?
- Will you be drinking this time?
- Will you be my designated driver?
- I don’t think you are an addict.
- Come on, you can have just just one.
Avoid saying these things to your loved one. They cause shame or they can trigger them into using drugs or drinking again.
Get Help for Someone Who is Battling Addiction
There are many great ways to help someone who is battling addiction. You can start by saying the right things and avoiding the things you shouldn’t say.
Is your loved one ready to overcome their addiction? If so, contact us, here at Palm Beach Interventions to get help for them today.