If a close friend was struggling with financial problems, or perhaps issues with a romantic relationship, you’d want to do anything in your power to help them through it—even if it was just offering some words of encouragement.

When a friend is struggling with addiction, it’s a little more complicated; after all, this problem is a complex medical issue, and the way you broach the subject needs to be appropriately nuanced and sensitive.

If you believe your close friend is struggling with substance addiction—whether addition to drugs or to alcohol—we recommend keeping these points in mind.

5 Things to Remember About Addiction

  1. Your loved one may have done some bad things lately, including lying, stealing, or neglecting key responsibilities—but that doesn’t mean your loved one is a bad person. Remember that your friend is in the grip of a disease, which can drive all this misbehavior.
  2. Accusations can only make things worse. When you accuse your friend, or use a judgmental tone, it leads to defensiveness. It’s better to frame everything in terms of your own loving concern. Let your friend know that you care, and that you want to see them make a full recovery.
  3. Specifics can be especially meaningful. Your friend may be in deep denial, but you can cut through that by offering some specifics. Don’t say something like, you’ve been distant lately. Instead, say my feelings were hurt when you missed our scheduled get-together last Thursday.
  4. Talk about the effects of addiction. Point out the toll it’s taking not just on your friend’s health—frankly, your friend may not care as much about personal health—but also on your friend’s children, career, hobbies, etc.
  5. Offer your support, without condition. The goal here is for your loved one to seek recovery, which may seem daunting—so make it clear that you’ll be there to offer your support, no matter what.

Talk to your friend about addiction—and as you do so, make sure you offer a message of hope: Recovery is possible, and treatment works! Learn more from the team at Seacliff.

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