“I’m a drug addict and I need help” is a shocking statement to hear from a loved one. We may have known for years that our loved one suffered from substance abuse and addiction. Finally hearing them admit that their lives have become completely unmanageable due to their powerlessness over drugs and alcohol is often a relief. For many families, however, the news comes as a total surprise. There is a sort of loss. How do we comprehend learning that someone we know and love, who we thought we knew so well, suffers from something fatal? Overtime we learn the details of the depths of their addiction. We find ourselves at a loss for words.
Addiction can render anyone speechless. Astonishing is the word for describing the lengths and addict or alcoholic will go to in order to ensure their next intoxication. Bewildered and taken aback, we might struggle to find the right thing to say. We know that they need all of our love and support during such a challenging time as getting sober. What to say?
How to Talk About A Loved One’s Addiction With Them
First, it is important to understand that saying something is better than saying nothing. Coming from a place of fear in communication is always the wrong first step. Cutting off communication due to fear of saying the wrong thing is harmful. It prevents necessary human to human understanding, empathy, and compassion. Even if what you say is not the “right” thing, by vulnerably opening up out of your own discomfort, you immediately help the other person. That ease can begin with simply letting them know you don’t know what to say.
“There’s nothing I can say that will make recovery easier for you. I am not sure what to say about the information you’ve just given me. I am here to support you and I am proud you are making the decision to receive help.”
Make sure to keep your focus on the other person. Though the news is shocking to you, your loved one is the person fighting a potentially life-threatening disease. Take time to listen to what they have to tell you. If you are unclear what it is they need or want to get help, ask them to clarify. Rather than just asking, “what can I do to help?”, ask specifically what they need you to support them in. When they begin to talk, really listen. Put aside your own thoughts, feelings, judgments, opinions, and fears. Listen to what they have to tell you and they will likely give you all the additional information you need.
Recovery starts with You. Start your recovery with Us. Enlightened Solutions is waiting to answer your questions about your or your loved one’s decision to seek recovery from addiction. We offer spiritually and 12 step based treatment programs to men and women. For more information call 844-234-LIVE today.