Addiction is a common problem around the country. Most of us know someone who is struggling with an alcohol or drug problem. It can be difficult to know how to help someone. Especially if you have never dealt with addiction yourself, you wouldn’t want to talk down to them. However, they are often in need of real support. If you want to help a friend who is dealing with addictive behavior, here are some tips that often help.
Be Willing to Listen
Your friend who is battling addiction may want someone to talk to. Maybe the addiction won’t be mentioned, even if you know about it. Offering a listening ear and an understanding heart can help someone feel valued despite the shame and guilt that often accompany an addiction problem. Avoid being overly critical with someone who is struggling with a substance addiction problem. Be an effective listener in hearing what they want to share and offering friendly rather than pushy advice regarding treatment. In a real way you don’t know what they are going through, so keep that in mind as you offer your advice and sympathy.
Stay in Touch
If you cannot spend time with your friend, send encouraging messages of hope by email, social media, or post. Knowing someone cares could be the lifeline that leads someone to rehab of their own accord. An occasional text message or a friendly greeting card may help the person to feel appreciated despite their addiction issues and your inability to get together for a visit. You might want to make a phone call now and then, as a voice-to-voice conversation might be uplifting to both your friend and you.
Don’t Become an Enabler
Having compassion for a friend who is addicted to harmful substances does not mean you should support their habit or make excuses for it. Don’t agree to lie for someone who misses work, school, or other responsibilities due to addictive behavior.
In fact, a good friend will be honest about the problem. While you don’t have to continually hammer the need for rehab into your friend, watch for opportunities to share concern and suggest treatment that could turn your friend’s life in a more positive direction.
Recommend Addiction Treatment
When a substance abuse problem threatens a person’s health, life, or well being, a good friend will look for the right time and the best way to suggest treatment. Consider going with your friend to a doctor’s appointment for an evaluation or dropping them off at the rehab center to begin scheduled treatment. After the in-patient part is done, help your friend find new activities and meet new people to replace the former associates and activities that may have contributed to the addiction problem.
A good friend can help someone with an addiction feel valued and be willing to enroll in a treatment program. A good friend can listen to their troubles and materially help them as they get back on their feet. Your support could make a big difference. Be kind and persistent. Your friend will appreciate it, no matter what happens.