Helping a friend or a loved one struggling with drugs is challenging. Initiating a conversation about their addiction is even harder because you’re worried you might overstep your boundaries and worsen the situation. Below are some tips to keep in mind on how to help them as they begin their recovery journey.
Talk to Them About Their Addiction
You cannot make your friend stop using drugs; that’s a choice they have to make on their own. However, you can encourage them to get medical help. Initiating a conversation when they are sober is critical for a better understanding of the matter. Meet in a quiet and neutral place and ensure you have a two-way dialogue to avoid them feeling lectured.
Your friend might not be worried about their health, but you are. Make them understand how their addiction is affecting their family and your relationship. Be ready for various reactions like anger and sadness, but eventually, you will come to an understanding. Talk about the treatment barriers that they might have and what support they need.
Educate Yourself on Substance Addiction and Available Treatments
When your friend is unwell, it is normal to experience fear, worry, and frustration. If you are not familiar with addiction, you must educate yourself. Like any other chronic disease, the more informed you are about addiction, the easier it is for you to support them.
There are various credible sources to learn about substance-use disorders, interventions, and treatment methods. Gather pamphlets and bookmark webpages for reference. Use terminologies like Substance Use Disorder (SUD) to avoid judging and shaming language. In addition, research various treatment options, their credibility, and list treatment centers. Present this list to them to choose the best facility.
Always Remember That Addiction Is a Disease
Did you know strong painkillers like fentanyl are highly addictive? Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine. It causes dependence, and individuals will continue to use it to avoid withdrawal symptoms like muscle aches, anxiety, and nausea. Feeling angry and frustrated when your friend harms their health through substance abuse is normal. Try to talk to them to understand how substance use became a habit to them and offer them help.
Make Sure Your Help Won’t Enable Their Addiction
Most people struggling with substance addiction have strained or depleted their finances. Typically, enabling starts with good intentions, and it is normal for you to want to help your friend by giving them money. However, by doing this, you unintentionally reinforce their substance use, and their situation may worsen.
Set clear boundaries, and don’t give your friend money. These actions limit the chances of being caught up on the wrong side of the law for drug possession. Do you know the two requirements for being convicted of constructive possession? First, the defendant must have known the drugs were there; secondly, they intended to use them. The last thing you want on your plate is dealing with drug cases.
Assist Your Friend in Finding Addiction Treatment Facilities
Once your friend admits to having a problem and needs help, praise them for their courage. Help them research the best addiction facilities, compare prices, and consider their services. Remember to check the program’s credibility.
After choosing a suitable facility, encourage them to visit a healthcare professional to discuss their treatment options. You can show your support by accompanying them. If your friend can’t pay for rehab fees, seek other options, like health insurance or a state-run program.
Be Positive, and Don’t Use Your Love and Comfort Against Them
Using threats, guilt-tripping, or bribing your friend will worsen the situation and push them away. Instead, convey your concerns by assuring them of your love and support. Saying words like ‘I love you’ can assure them they are not alone in their recovery journey.
During your visits to the rehab center, buy them simple gifts like a diary, a sketchbook with a pair of pencils, or a puzzle to exercise their mind. Flowers are also one of the best reassuring gifts to give your friend, as 65% feel special when receiving flowers. Flowers make people happy and make them know you care.
When a loved one is unwell, everyone close to them gets affected. Sometimes you put their needs first and neglect yourself, resulting in anxiety or depression. To help your friend in the healing journey, always take care of your emotional, mental, and physical needs, too.