How to Help an Addicted Friend or Loved One

How to Help an Addicted Friend or Loved One

It’s natural to want to avoid having difficult conversations with those you love because it can be awkward, emotional, and stressful. Sometimes having difficult conversations with a friend or loved one is necessary. 

Almost 21 million Americans have at least one addiction. Whether it’s a substance addiction, a gambling problem, a sex addiction, or another kind of addiction, it’s a relatively common issue, meaning it could be affecting someone that you are close to. 

If you do know someone who is struggling with an addiction, you may be wondering what steps you can take to help them, or how you can offer them your support. It’s a difficult journey, but those who struggle with addiction have a greater chance of recovery if they have a solid support system. 

Don’t enable them

One of the most difficult challenges is determining whether you’re supporting a loved one or enabling them. It’s never easy to watch someone you care about become consumed by their addiction, and in trying to find ways to accept it, you may be tempted to step in and try to take over their responsibilities, do their chores, give them money, or make amends for them. 

Although these actions are clearly coming from a place of sincerity and love, helping your loved one avoid real consequences won’t help them. In fact, it will do the opposite and enable them to continue down their destructive path. It may sound harsh, but they need to come face-to-face with the consequences of their actions in order to commit to treatment. 

Getting your friend or loved one professional help from a doctor, sending them to rehab, or helping them find a sex addiction therapist like Sex Addiction Houston is important. While they may not take to help too kindly to begin with, this is a main way to stop enabling their bad habits.

Establish trust

Trust is a critical step when it comes to helping someone recover. They need to know they can rely on you and know you aren’t judging them or trying to control them. It can be difficult to show patience and trust them, especially if they have done something to break or undermine your trust already, but it’s so important to be patient so that you can help build up their confidence and reassure them you only want what’s best for them. If they trust you, they’ll turn to you for help and advice, and you can help guide them to recovery.

Avoid focusing on guilt

A person who is struggling with addiction most likely already feels guilty or shameful about their behavior or actions, as well as feeling judged by those around them. When this is true, they often act out or become defensive when any criticism is brought to them. This can make them feel more isolated and stressed, which could drive them to their addictive habits and behaviors as a way of controlling their environment. 

When trying to help, do your best to understand that being judgemental can negatively affect your relationship as well as their recovery process. With this in mind, it may be easier to be compassionate rather than focusing on shame or guilt. 


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