It’s intimidating for people to approach their loved ones about addiction problems; in fear that the discussion will cause them to blow up or push them away. In a lot of cases, they will react with drastic behaviors such as dropping out of school, abusing substances more, or moving out of the house to retaliate against their concerned loved ones.

However, the dreadful conversation might be very productive, leading an abuser to know realize they have a problem. And the only way to prevent the problem from escalating to severe outcomes is change.

Discussion Guideline for Approaching a Loved One About Addiction

  • Make sure your loved one is sober. You don’t want to bring up this discussion when they are under the influence of drugs or alcohol. You want them to be present with you, to understand logic, and to be less likely to get angry, impatient, or dismissive.
  • Of course, be sober yourself. As anxious and nervous this discussion might make you feel, you need to be sober and present as well.
  • Arrange a time when the both of you can talk alone and uninterrupted. You want to open the discussion to dialogue, for a two-way conversation sharing and understanding each other. You don’t want to have a limit on how long the discussion should go, in case it needs to or does go longer than expected.
  • Emphasize your love, care, and concern for their well-being as a reason for this conversation. Don’t scold, judge, or put them down. This is a moment of love and you want them to know that. You want their trust.
  • List some changes in behavior that you have observed. Mention your worry and concern if substance abuse is continued.
  • Use open ended questions, inviting them to share their side. You don’t want them feeling ambushed or guarded in anyway.
  • If they don’t think they have a problem, just give it another try in the future. You don’t want to convince them there’s a problem, you want to let them know that you believe there is one based on observable behaviors.
  • Do not speculate, explore motives, or judge. Stick with the main point.
  • Don’t expect a dramatic shift immediately. The person might not believe there is a problem. It’s not a quick fix, nor is it easy.

Getting Advice About Substance Abuse

Another point to remember, with certain drugs there are serious risks and withdrawal symptoms when the substance is cut out immediately. Some people will need to detox under the care of a medical professional. Even if detoxification is not needed, a discuss always is.

Please contact a medical professional for advice and patient management. Contact Crownview Medical Group for help from a medical professional specializing in addiction treatment and patient management for long term sobriety.