The Dos and Don’ts About Confronting a Drug User About Their Behavior

When alcohol or drug use affects someone, we love, we may ask “How did it happen?” or “How can we help?” Feelings of blame and guilt may lead us to try to support them, but these attempts may hurt more than they help. Here, we offer a few dos and don’ts to keep in mind when confronting a drug user about their behavior.

Don’t Blame Them

Blame is an instinctual reaction to drug addiction; we may blame ourselves or the addict for allowing it to happen. It serves no purpose, other than to keep the addict from accepting responsibility for their recovery. During a drug addiction intervention, avoid blaming the person for the harm they’ve caused, as it will add to their burden.

Don’t Preach

Being affected by an addict’s behavior can create feelings of loss, resentment, and anger. Acting on such feelings by lecturing, threatening, or preaching will only widen the gap between you and the person you love. If you want to support someone in recovery, keep interactions nonjudgmental and positive.

Don’t Talk While They’re Intoxicated

Being in an addict’s company while they’re using can be upsetting. When such encounters occur, it’s best to avoid long conversations that may turn into arguments and strengthen existing barriers. Wait for times of clarity and sobriety when cooler heads may prevail.

Don’t Enable Them

Feeling ashamed at not doing more to keep a loved one out of addiction may cause family members and friends to be too supportive. This often leads to attempts to lie for or make excuses for the addict, which allows them to keep behaving dishonestly and destructively. Don’t enable them, and they’ll eventually have to face the consequences of their actions.

Do Some Research on Addiction

When loved ones have cancer, we do everything we can to learn about the condition. Drug and alcohol addiction are just as devastating, and research helps us to be more understanding, supportive, and objective. Education gives families practical information that helps them identify and prevent relapse while dealing with the feelings they’re experiencing.

Encourage Them to Seek Help

Just as you’d seek advice from professionals in other areas, help from addiction specialists goes a long way. Encourage loved ones to find treatment centers and programs, even if they’re not sure where to begin. By researching local options and having answers ready, you’ll help loved ones accept the assistance they’re offered.

Look for Relapse Warning Signs

When helping addicts, relapse is an unfortunate possibility—and those who participate actively and learn about addiction are better at looking for its signs. Moodiness, anger, and anxiety are all indicators that must be addressed quickly to increase the chances of a successful recovery.

Step Up

If you think a loved one has problems with alcohol or drugs, the best time to step up is right now. By offering your love and support in a non-judgmental and caring atmosphere, you’ll encourage them to ask for the help they need.

Help Yourself

Supporting and loving someone with an addiction can be life-consuming. When family members and friends don’t acknowledge and meet their own needs, they end up physically and emotionally depleted—and that’s no help. When helping someone with an addiction, eating right, exercising, getting enough sleep, and seeking counseling will protect your mental health.

The More You Know

Now that you know the dos and don’ts of helping an addict work toward recovery, it’s time to step up. Continued support and love are essential but encouraging them to seek help is equally important. The specialists at R&A Therapeutic Partners are here to help addicts and their families return to healthy, happy, and meaningful lives.