Has Addiction Infected Your Family? Learn How to Talk to a Loved One About Addiction Today.
Talking to an addict about their addiction can be a difficult undertaking, especially if the addict is in denial about his addiction. Your loved one may believe that he doesn’t have a problem and he may not want to discuss it with you. Addiction causes many changes to occur in the addict, both physically and psychologically. His personality may begin to change, and he may start to have mood swings that can be aggressive and hostile at times. Trying to get him to talk about his addiction can stir up his anger and you can become the victim of his reproach. Perhaps you have already experienced his anger and you are not ready to deal with it again. So what can you do, and where can you learn how to talk to a loved one about addiction? There are rules of engagement that can make confronting your loved one about his addiction go a little easier. Here are some tips about how to talk to a loved one about addiction:
- The best time to talk to your loved one is when that small window of sobriety is open. If he is always stoned this window will be shut, but if by chance there are times that your loved one is sober it is the perfect time to talk with him. He will be more lucid when he is sober and it might be the perfect time to reach him with some logic and reasoning. You should also try to speak with him in the morning when he first wakes up, before he has had a chance to get high.
- Your loved one may try to use some defense mechanisms like avoidance, denial, anger, blame or other excuses to skirt the issue, but you will not let that deter you from saying what you need to say. Be honest and direct, and tell him how you feel about his addiction. Don’t shame or judge him about his problem, or use harsh criticism. Don’t play tit for tat, even if he tries to bait you, because no one wins at that game. Let him know that you are going to confront his addiction even if he denies it or tries to change the subject.
- How to talk to a loved one about addiction means being honest with him and telling him how his addiction is affecting you and other members of the family. Be patient with him and don’t let his calm, and smile through clenched teeth if you have. But don’t lose track of the conversation by letting negative emotions take over. Remember that you are talking to an addiction that wants its fix, and will fight anyone or thing that stands in its way from getting it.
- This is how to help someone who is addicted to drugs: tell him that you will support him in his recovery but you will not enable him in his addiction. Lay down some ground rules and consequences, providing rewards for good behavior and consequences when he regresses. Do not do anything that will enable him to continue in his addiction. You can’t give him money, pay his bills, feed him, etc. That type of behavior only allows him to continue in his addiction. He must learn to stand on his own two feet and be responsible for himself. If he falls flat on his face, so be it; this is tough love that can force him to get the help he needs.
- Knowing how to talk to a drug addict in denial means that you realize your loved one has a real addiction that has affected his mind, and he doesn’t want to admit it. You should let him know how much you love him and will support his recovery if he is willing to get help. Talk about things he is familiar with and cares about like his family, hobbies, etc., and remind him about how much he is losing out on because of his addiction. Have a plan of action already in place, just in case your loved one agrees to get help. Help him pack, if you haven’t already done so, and bring him straight to the rehab center.
Another great way to learn how to talk to a loved one in addiction is by having an intervention with an intervention specialist. The specialist will direct the conversation during the meeting and this can help you learn how to help someone who is addicted to drugs. To learn more about interventions and how to prepare for one, or to explore treatment options for yourself or a loved one, call us today.
If you or a loved one needs help with abuse and/or treatment, please call the WhiteSands Treatment at (877) 855-3470. Our addiction specialists can assess your recovery needs and help you get the addiction treatment that provides the best chance for your long-term recovery.