How Do I Approach a Loved One Who Is Struggling With Addiction?

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Watching someone that you love struggle with addiction is an extremely painful and challenging experience. It can be even more painful when they don't want to get help or simply deny they have a problem at all. This can feel as if you're watching someone you care about deeply go through a rapid downward spiral while you look on helplessly. If you are currently going through this, you are not alone, and there are resources that can help. 

If this is something you're going through, our team at Pathways Recovery Center is here to guide you. 

It can seem very scary to approach someone you're close to about their substance misuse. You may worry that they will become defensive or that this will jeopardize your relationship. Try to push these thoughts aside and focus on the fact that this may be the push they need to make a life-saving change. 

How Do I Know My Loved One Is Struggling With Addiction?

Perhaps you suspect that your loved one is struggling with addiction but want to be positive before you actually confront them about it. While everyone exhibits the signs of substance misuse in different ways, there are certain signs to look out for. Consider the following: 

  • Has your loved one been struggling to keep up with personal or professional obligations?
  • Have they been isolating themselves from others?
  • Do they no longer show the same interest in hobbies or activities they used to enjoy?
  • Are they experiencing financial struggles? 
  • Do they appear secretive?
  • Have they been caught lying? 
  • Has this individual come to you or others asking for financial help? 
  • Does it seem as if they have neglected their personal hygiene? 
  • Do they have trouble remembering things they said or did when they were engaging in substance use?
  • Have they been confronted about their substance misuse and become angry or aggressive? 

If you've answered yes to any of these questions, your loved one may be struggling with addiction and need professional help. 

How Do I Prepare to Confront My Loved One Who Is Struggling With Addiction?

Getting ready to have this difficult conversation can seem very intimidating. It can help to take some steps to prepare. First of all, you must plan out exactly where this interaction is going to occur and what you're going to say. You'll want to find someplace that is private, where your loved one is going to feel comfortable and won't be overheard. 

Second of all, it is important to consider the tone that you're going to be using. You'll want to make it clear to your loved one that you are coming to them from a place of love and concern and not judgment or ridicule. Next, you can tell them what your specific concerns are about their substance misuse and how they affect your personally. 

No matter what turns the conversation takes, do your best to avoid becoming emotional or raising your voice. This can only make matters worse. It may also lead to your loved one storming out instead of listening to what you have to say. You will also want to ensure that you have this important conversation when your loved one is sober and able to comprehend what you are saying. 

Another thing you'll want to consider is how you can make it as easy as possible for your loved one to seek out the help that they need. You can help with this by doing your own research into facilities that are local to them. It can also help to gather insurance information, gather some basic information about their treatment programs, and collect their contact information. 

This way, you can hand this information over to them after your conversation. It will help to ensure that they don't have to do much personal research and can simply make a call to set up an appointment. 

What If My Loved One Who Is Struggling With Addiction Does Not Respond Well to My Approach?

While it can be a very disheartening thing to consider, it is possible that your loved one won't respond to your confrontation as well as you may have hoped. They may become angry or defensive, and they may deny they have a problem at all. This doesn't mean that you've done or said anything wrong. Don't blame yourself or allow yourself to feel guilty. 

It's also important not to give up on this person. Give them some space and then try again at a later time when they may be more receptive to what you have to say. While it might not seem like it now, your words and efforts can really make a difference and can allow you to make a major difference in this person's life. If you are currently going through this, our team at Pathways Recovery Center is here to help you. 

Watching someone you love struggle with addiction can cause you to feel extremely helpless. It can also lead to a lot of mental and emotional strain. You want the best for this person but don't know how to get them to see that they need help. If this is something you are going through, you don't have to continue to do so alone. Our team at Pathways Recovery Center can help. Whether you are struggling with addiction yourself or know someone who is, we can guide you in the right direction. Give us a call at (888) 771-0966, and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have about our programs and services. 

Clinically reviewed by 

Moses Nasser
Dr. Moses Nasser, a double board-certified physician in Family Medicine and Addiction Medicine, with expertise in holistic healing, addiction medicine, and psychiatric care, holds an X-waiver to prescribe buprenorphine and has extensive experience in mindfulness-based customer service and medication-assisted treatment.

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Pathways Recovery Center Believes That Anyone Suffering From Addiction Can Recover And Experience The Joy Of Life Again. Join Us In Fighting Addiction One Person At A Time.
Call: 1 (888) 711 0966

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