Many people are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction. New government data states that “23.5 million Americans are addicted to alcohol and drugs” and that only 11% of those who are addicted receive addiction treatment.

With so many people in active addiction, their friends and family will inevitably feel the impact of their substance abuse. To help these individuals receive the help they need, it may take having that necessary — but sometimes hard — conversation with them to discuss their addiction.

If you are the one suffering from the addiction, it may seem unbearable to become vulnerable and ask your friends and family for help. However, you should feel proud for taking your first steps to start living a healthier and happy life.

Discussing addiction may not be easy, but this article will offer suggestions that you may find helpful for you, your friend or your loved one to start receiving help.

Asking for Help with Your Addiction

If you need help talking to a loved one about your substance use or are having trouble asking your friends or family for help, here are a few essential tips to remember:

  • You are courageous. Admitting you have an addiction or asking for help signals that you are ready to face your recovery. Be proud of yourself for having the courage to take back your life and fight for your sobriety.
  • You are not alone. Addiction can be a very isolating experience; however, those closest to you may have started to notice changes in your behavior or mood and may suspect that you need help. It is important to remember that you have family and friends who are happy to help you get the assistance you need to gain your sobriety.
  • Honesty is essential. Opening up to a friend or loved one about your addiction is not easy; however, you must be completely honest with someone about your addiction to receive the help you need.
  • Location matters. Find a place, time and setting where you will feel comfortable and safe to be vulnerable. You’ll want to give yourself enough time to have the conversation and not feel rushed. You can have this conversation in person, virtually, or over the phone. Also, if you feel safer in smaller groups, pick one or two friends or family members and confide in them. The important thing is that you know you have people who are willing to support you.
  • Treatment resources. If you are truly not comfortable talking to your friends and family about addiction, please reach out to medical professionals or local support groups to point you in the right direction. In addition, you can contact SAMHSA’s Helpline, available 24/7, 365 days a year.

When a Loved One Is Struggling with Addiction

If your friend or loved one has a substance use disorder and you’re wondering how to approach them, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Educate yourself on addiction. There are many resources to help you learn more about the signs, triggers and symptoms of addiction. Addiction is a disease and the more you learn about its causes and effects, the more you will be able to empathize with the individual.
  • Have realistic expectations. Addiction recovery does not happen overnight. If the individual is in active addiction, it may take some time before they are willing to accept help or treatment. However, continue to hold them accountable and let them know that you are ready to help them when they are ready to get sober.
  • Practice self-care. It is important to remember that your mental and emotional well-being may also be affected by those close to you who need help. You may experience feelings of stress, anxiety and even depression as your friend or loved one faces their addiction crisis. Self-care will help you manage these feelings.
  • Set boundaries. When it comes to helping someone close to you get help for their addiction, sometimes your support could be enabling their addiction without you even realizing it. For example, providing someone who is in active addiction with financial help could enable them to avoid facing the consequences of their substance use. Set clear boundaries and let them know you are there to help them when they are ready.
  • Encourage professional help. One of the most important things you can do for your family or friend is to encourage them to seek the professional medical help they need. If you are unsure where to start, ask your health providers for treatment center referrals in your area. In addition, you can find local help in your area here.

If you or your loved one are in active crisis and need immediate help, please do not hesitate to call 911.

At PaRC (Prevention and Recovery Center), we understand that asking for help can be hard and are here to help you regain control of your life. If you need help for yourself, your friend or your loved one to help beat addiction, call us today at (713) 939-7272.