Do you have loved ones dealing with an addiction? You may have thought about talking to them about their condition. Or worse still, you’ve tried, but you only met a brick wall.
We know such conversations may not be the most straightforward to have. More importantly, we understand the place of talking to loved ones dealing with addiction about their substance-use problem.
Therefore, we have put together this article to help you take the step confidently. After learning the proper state for the conversation, you’ll also learn the best way around it.
Let’s get started.
Why You Should Know How to Communicate with an Addict
Without a doubt, you must know how to communicate with someone who has an addiction. Addiction is a sensitive topic, and those suffering from it are even more so.
Naturally, addicts are evasive. Firstly, they do not want you to catch them with their habits, hence a lot of secrecy. They are also wary of discussing it.
The chances are that they flare up, become aggressive or defensive anytime you tend to discuss the matter. Very likely, such reactions affect you negatively. They may make you feel unwanted when all you were doing is just trying to help.
This underscores why you should know how to talk to your loved ones about their addiction. You can only help them after you’ve been able to get through to them. The recovery begins once they start to open up to you about their problem.
Preparing Your Mind for the Conversation
Talking to a loved one dealing with an addiction can be tasking, mentally, and emotionally. Before you begin the conversation, you need to have some requisite knowledge. This way you have a higher chance of having a successful discussion. Here are some tips to bear in mind.
You need a safe space
You cannot take for granted the relationship you have with your loved one. This means you shouldn’t imagine that they will find it easy to talk to you.
Because of their addiction, they are generally distrustful. You will need to create an emotionally safe space. Your loved one has to feel they can trust you before they open up on the addiction.
You can start with reminiscing. By recalling events where you shared fond memories, they can realize how special you are to them. This action helps them to relax. They will also feel close enough to you to listen to and act on what you say.
You must not go into a conversation expecting to get results on the first try. While it is possible your loved one may yield with a little persuasion, it isn’t very likely to happen.
Very likely, your loved one resorted to substance abuse to deal with daily stressors. Also, you must understand that they see such conversations about their habits as a burden.
This gives you a picture of how they approach anything bothersome – they run away. In other words, they will try to avoid such conversations with you.
So, you should consider the possibility of having to revisit such conversations over a long period. In essence, you cannot be in too much of a rush.
Getting your loved one who’s dealing with addiction to open up is a long term project. Furthermore, you must expect some disappointments along the line.
Having this at the back of your mind helps you remain calm through it. When you feel like giving up, take a pause.
Remember that it might take some time. But you must also believe it will pay off in the long run. As long as you adopt the right methods, you will eventually convince them.
You can be emotional
Facts are important, no doubt! But when you’re trying to convince someone in a matter like addiction, facts may not work.
At such a heavily dependent state, your loved one will likely get irritated when you throw facts in their face. Instead, it may be better if you appeal to their emotions.
You may do this by making them realize their addiction affects the people they love. Addicts are not entirely oblivious. They know the potential consequences their habits can have on them.
What is often absent is the realization of the impact of their behaviour on close friends.
By making them see how much hurt they cause others, they are likely to be more willing to get treatment. Then, you can recommend good addiction treatment services.
In dealing with your loved one with an addiction, your intention should be to provide support. Even if you are a therapist or in a related field, you should only show you care.
Your words must show your support. You can do this by reiterating your being with them and wanting to help.
Once they start seeming to be responsive, you have to be quick to encourage them. You must also encourage them to do better.
Here, you can also talk up the benefits of going into rehab. While doing this, you may even touch on possible negative consequences if they refuse to get treatment. If they realize how much they stand to lose, they may change their minds.
Things to Do During the Conversation
Having the right mindset is just one part of talking to your loved one dealing with addiction. In this section, we will provide you with action points to use or avoid during the conversation.
- Listen! Then listen some more: In any conversation, let alone one with an addict, you get more value when listening. Your loved one is far more likely to confide in you if there is a minimal interruption. Their thoughts can flow without obstruction, and they will talk freely. Also, it is better to skip any judgement or analysis of their actions. The best you can do is listen.
- Show unconditional love and care: You must be sure to show your struggling loved one how much you care, regardless of their situation. They should also be aware that deep down, your actions are for their wellbeing. This doesn’t mean you will look away and indulge them, and they should know that.
- Allow them to lead: In their efforts to get better, you should let them lead the way. However, this must come after you have set some boundaries. But when deciding how changes are made, it is beneficial if they have input. They feel more among and more responsible for their life and their choices. They will have a better recovery success rate.
- Be with them all the way: It is not usually enough to talk to them and leave them alone. The recovery process is a stressful one. Without the support of their family and close friends, they have a higher chance of relapsing. For example, you can provide such support by accompanying them to family or couple’s counselling.
- Show kindness: This point is all-important. Through your words, action, and behaviour, you must show compassion. You must also be accepting of them. Because of the place of addiction in society, a little bit of acceptance helps to build trust. With trust in place, they are better able to confide in you.
Related article: Heroin Addiction Treatment: Dealing with Withdrawal Symptoms
Knowing how to talk to a loved one dealing with addiction is an essential skill you must build. This way, you have better chances of convincing your loved one to seek help. Once you’ve done your part, we’ll do ours.
At Addiction Rehab, our addiction treatment services in Toronto is the subject of wide acclaim. We are versatile and have solid knowledge in treating addiction to different substances.
More importantly, we have a high addiction recovery success rate. Call 1 (855) 787 2424 today to begin your loved one’s recovery.