Overcoming Addiction: How To Help A Friend In Need
Addiction is a disease. It is an ailment that only those who have a predisposition to allowing their addictive personalities take charge can fully understand and relate to. It doesn’t matter if the addiction is to food, drugs, alcohol, gambling or extreme exercise, the impact on the addict’s life and the lives of those around them can be profound for all involved. Witnessing a loved one or a friend in the throes of addiction can be heartbreaking, and it can be impossible to know what to do for the best. All you want to do is help, to get your friend back on the right path and enable them to see how worthwhile their life is without the need for their addiction. Take a look at these tips to help you help a friend in need.
If your friend is willing to talk, take this as a positive sign. Addicts tend to isolate themselves even from those who they love and care about the most. If your friend is eager to talk to you, even if it is not about anything remotely linked to their addiction, be willing to listen. Be the shoulder that they can cry on, the sounding board to voice their ideas and the impartial person who they can vent their anger at.
It’s vital that your friend understands that you have their best interests at heart. As they become more comfortable talking to you, they may open up about their feelings towards their addiction but be wary of the terminology you use. They may not use the word addiction and may simply refer to their dependency on drugs, alcohol or gambling as a problem. The word ‘addiction’ can be terrifying for an addict making them feel shame, anger, and negative self-worth. Just being there to listen to your friend may be enough in the first instance.
A Need For Understanding
The idea that you can just say to your friend who is an addict that they should ‘look on the bright side’ or that they ‘don’t know how lucky they are’ is oversimplifying the situation and shows your lack of understanding for their addiction. What your friend is going through is acutely traumatic and emotional. Don’t belittle their addiction through the use of platitudes. Your friend may retreat further and be unwilling to address their problems.
Facilitation Is Not The Answer
Your friend may be in the depths of an addictive episode when they come to you for help. Your idea of help is to see them in a rehabilitation program. Their idea of help is $20 to secure their next fix of an illegal substance. Don’t give in, however tempting it may be. Your friend is not the same person as they were before the addiction. Their impulsive craving for their vice has altered their personality to try and manipulate you into giving them what they want. Be the best friend that you can be and say no, however heartbreaking this may be.
Rehabilitation Is The Answer
Only when you sense that your friend is ready for external help, can rehabilitation be successful. It may be your friend who initiates a conversation with you to seek help. You can investigate which recovery center is the most appropriate for your friend. Think about the programs that they offer, the support they provide and the after care guidance that they will continue to give.
It’s important to realize that the hardest part may not yet have come on their road to recovery. Addicts must confront many demons before embarking on their new sober, addiction free lives. You may need to take a step back and allow them to confront their issues on their own with specialist help. Just make your friend aware that you will be waiting for them when their period of rehabilitation is over.
There may be some blips and relapses along the way. This is normal, but if your friend is still willing to admit their issues with addiction, they can continue on their road to recovery.
Only when your friend has completed their rehabilitation and is settling into their addiction free life, will they realize the impact that their addiction has had on you. Being a strong and stable figure in your friend’s life while they try to overcome addiction can be one of the most challenging things you ever have to undertake, but if you stick with it, you can help turn your friend’s life around.
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