How to talk to a friend suffering from addiction


If you are a good friend, you don’t want to see the ones you love suffer from addiction. No one does. But you may not know how to help them or what to say, and that’s okay. Sometimes the best you can do is simply be there, listen and ask if there is anything you can do to help. If you need more details about recovery, you will find them with addiction treatment services.

Here are 3 tips to remember when talking to a friend who suffers from addiction.

  1. Don’t judge

Your friend probably has no shortage of people judging their  struggles. Don’t be one of those people.

Remain impartial. Even if you can’t stand what is happening to your friend, don’t let them know or let it show. You can tell them you’re worried because you care deeply about them and their health, but don’t shame them for an illness. If your friend had cancer, you wouldn’t shame them.  The same goes for addiction.

They already know they are screwing up. They simply need a friend to support and listen to them, not judge. Remember, they are human, like you, and everyone makes mistakes.

  1. Encourage Them

Don’t lecture them on the way addiction can ruin their life. They already know. Instead, try to focus on how treatment can help them.

Help them research alternative methods to overcome addiction. But do not force one way or another on them. Allow them to decide what would be best for them at this time. They may not know what is available in terms of complementary treatments for addiction and with solid information, you can help them make a plan of attack on their addiction.

You can volunteer to go with them to check out different treatment centres if they would like. Sometimes the addict just doesn’t know where to begin to get help or doesn’t want to investigate rehabilitation centres by themselves.

  1. Show Love and Support

It may be difficult at times, especially when your friend has an addiction and doesn’t want to get help. But you need to show them as much love and support as you can.

Giving them unconditional love shows them that you have their best interest in mind. Do not ignore their addiction, because that gives them “unwritten permission” to continue the bad behaviour.

Tell them how their behaviour makes you feel and how worried you are about them, but do not preach. Set boundaries and don’t become a doormat for what they want and say. Boundaries may be difficult to implement, but in the end, they help not only you but your friend.

You can help your friend and they will love and appreciate all you do for them, even if it is limited to listening.

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