How to Support a Friend Who Is Struggling with Addiction

January 31, 2018Diana Lengerson

In the United States today, addiction and dependency are major issues, experienced by people from all walks of life. In fact, the Surgeon General of the United States of America estimates that one in seven Americans will deal with a substance abuse disorder at some point in their lifetime. Fortunately, thanks to interventions ranging from Florida Roxicet detox centers, inpatient and outpatient facilities, and medical intervention to a group or individual therapy program, those suffering from a substance abuse disorder can get the help that they need.

If a friend or loved one is suffering from a substance abuse disorder, dependency, or addiction, you may be wondering how you can help to support them. While that is a noble cause, you should be sure to exercise some caution before attempting to help you friend detox from drugs or alcohol. Detoxing from illicit, illegal, or dangerous substances without support from knowledgeable and experienced medical and psychological professionals can actually do more harm than good to the person suffering from the substance abuse problem. Instead, contact a reputable group of professionals who are qualified to treat these disorders and help your friend to get the assistance that they truly need. These professionals, including doctors, psychologists, nurses, counselors, and therapists, will be able to help your friend through their drug detox as well as set them up with the services, habits, and information that they will need to continue living clean and sober.

Once your friend or loved one is getting the professional help that they need, it’s important that you do nothing that will discourage their progress. One of the worst things that you could do would be to talk about your own continuing use of the substance in questions, such as sharing details of your nights out partying and abusing substances. Fortunately, most friends are smart enough to avoid these topics altogether. Another thing you should do when talking to your friend is recovery is to avoid talking about the negative sides of substance abuse and dwelling on past mistakes that your friend may have made when under the influence of the addiction. Not only will this kind of talk bring up uncomfortable and unnecessary thoughts of the substance in question, which could trigger the kind of thinking that could lead to a relapse, it also makes your friend feel guilty about the past, which is no longer under his control, instead of focusing on the future, which is where his or her attention just lie.

With that in mind, try to keep your conversations with your friend who is in recovery positive and upkeep without making them boring or full of platitudes. Instead of thinking about things you used to do together, whether they are positive good things or negative ones that could harm your friend’s mental health, talk about what you will do in the future. Does your friend have any fun hobbies or interests that you could discuss together? Maybe his or her favorite sports team is doing well this year? Think about music or other shared interests and see if there are upcoming albums or tours that your friend may look forward to. Keep the conversation focused on the future and remind your friend what they are fighting for.

Of course, not every conversation that you have with your friend in recovery is going to be sunshine and rainbows. Sometimes, you may not even know what to say, and you may be afraid of saying the wrong thing. If that’s the case, take heart. Often, the best thing that you can do for a friend or a loved one who is in recovery is simply to make the time to be with them. This reminds them that they are valuable people who have others who care about them and are rooting for them to succeed in their fight against addiction and substance abuse. The fact that you take time out of your schedule just to come and visit with your friend, ask how they are doing, share thoughts and ideas about the future, tell jokes, gossip in a friendly way about shared friendships, and simply sit together will inspire them to keep up with their efforts at self-improvement.

If you’re worried about your friend in recovery, you are already showing that you are a good friend to them. Help them get the support they need and you may find that they are able to improve very quickly.

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