It is always difficult when we see our loved one or a person who is close to us suffering and feeling like we cannot do anything to help them. Addiction is one of those issues that often makes us feel helpless. There is even a notion that we frequently hear that you cannot help someone with an addiction no matter how hard you try – they have to do all of the work themselves. Although it is true that you cannot force someone to get better, you definitely can help them by providing support and comfort and by being there for them whenever they need someone. Every situation is different, but there are some general tips you can try when trying to help a friend with addiction.
Difficulties are inevitable
When dealing with addiction issues, you are bound to run into a few problems here and there.
Some of them might be more serious while others might be minor, but they are almost inevitable so don’t get discouraged. For example, one common difficulty that arises when helping someone with an addiction is that they do not even want to admit they have a problem in the first place. Others include feeling embarrassed and not wanting to talk about it or refusing to talk to professionals. All of these problems are common, so just prepare yourself to face some of them beforehand.
Trust is essential
If the person you are trying to help is feeling attacked, stressed, and overly criticized, they might feel driven to their addictive behavior even more, which is what you definitely do not want. On the other hand, if they feel like they are safe and like they can trust you, they will open up more, be honest with their feelings, and be more open to your suggestions. Therefore, work on establishing trust first, as that will serve as a great foundation for the process.
The best thing you can do for your friend is to talk to them and make them feel loved and appreciated. Do not use your words to hurt or threaten, even when you are really frustrated. Those tactics never work.
What you need to do is communicate to them how much they mean to you and to other people around them, and make them see reasons for the change. You cannot go through that change instead of them, but you can help them realize that they want to get better.
There are different kinds of possible treatments depending on the addiction, the severity of the issue, and the doctor you choose, but no matter what kind of treatment it is, what you can do is provide your support for the person going through it. If it is allowed, go with them to the meetings where you can talk to the professional together.
Take care of yourself as well
Do not forget to take care of yourself too, as you won’t be able to help another person if you are not feeling your best. Take rests whenever you need them and try to destress by meditating or going on walks if you need them.