We often have to face trials and tribulations in our lives, and unfortunately, there are some that are dealt a harder hand than others. Those who are faced with addictions often don’t realize that they are struggling and living with a disease that needs treatment. When someone is struggling with an addiction problem, it is important to offer them support as friends and family, because community support matters more than anything. However, it is often a hard time for the family members and loved ones as well because it may be difficult to figure out what to say to the person struggling with addiction. Often, the friends and family members are simply concerned about the person in question and are only trying to help them, but it can become quite frustrating to convince an addict of their problem and that they need help.
We need to understand that nobody takes something on the first day by thinking that they “want” to become an addict. Addiction is a disease that gradually creeps up and takes over that person’s life before they even get a chance to realize the intrusion. It is understandable that it is quite hard for a family member or a loved one to watch someone they care about wither away under a cloud of addiction. But it is imperative to understand that we need to be careful and sensitive when talking to an addict. Even if you are genuinely concerned about that person, you have to be conscious about expressing your concern to the addict. There are a few things that you should never say to a person struggling with addiction, in order to have effective and sensitive communication with them.
1. You Just Cannot Change!
When someone is struggling with addiction, people around them often tend to get critical and judgemental. However, we need to understand that everyone can change and it is always possible. All that is needed is just a little time to let the change happen.
For some people, it is quite easy to incorporate the changes swiftly and completely while others may struggle a lot in changing even a smaller habit. However, regardless of these setbacks, change is inevitable and possible for anyone. Similarly, it is possible for an addict to change for the better, but if they keep hearing comments like “you are not able to change”, it will crush their self-esteem and make everything much harder for them. All they require is a support system and appropriate guidance. As their friend or family, you need to be optimistic and supportive so they can change their life for the better.
2. There is Only One Way to Quit
The popular phrase “one-size doesn’t fit all” applies to addiction recovery as well. Like anything in life, the path to quitting looks different for everyone and is not an easy one. Now there are various commonly sought approaches, like seeking help through a substance abuse treatment center where they provide support every step of the way. A reliable venter will even offer to give you accommodation if need be to keep an eye on you and give you 24-hour support. However, the person who is struggling with addiction needs to have a program tailored according to their unique needs. These inpatient treatments are an amazing way to jumpstart the journey towards better health. Therefore, you need to encourage and support your loved one to promptly seek professional treatment and get associated with the right program that seems to work for them.
3. Why Can’t You Just Stop Doing This?
In many cases, the person struggling with addiction usually tries to quit and may have tried doing it several times. However, to assume that your loved one is not trying enough or not trying hard enough or to say something as judgemental as this sentence, ‘why can’t you simply stop doing this?!’ is way too harsh and damaging for the person who is already struggling. Addiction is a long and tough battle that is quite exhausting and may feel impossible to overcome without the right support. If letting go of an addictive substance were that easy, nobody would have suffered from this disorder. Addiction is an ailment of mind, body, and spirit and needs to be treated holistically with care. As a friend or family, you need to understand that the person cannot make a choice when it comes to being addicted.
4. You Should Be Ashamed of Yourself
Since addiction and recovering from it is tough for both the affected person and their family or friends, it is quite common that the people around them may say something demeaning or insulting out of frustration. However, a little kindness and compassion will prove to be more effective in helping your loved one deal with addiction. Saying something insulting will only push the person struggling with addiction farther towards loneliness and deeper into addiction.
5. To Change, You Must Be at Rock Bottom
That is not true! Of course, they need not see the worst of addiction in order to start the journey to recovery. If you are using this kind of language to someone struggling with addiction, then you are not doing them any favors at all. Instead, you have to be encouraging and supportive towards your loved one and help them to seek professional help, rather than waiting for their life to get more terrible and be fixed magically.
6. You Will be an Addict Forever
This is beyond comprehension and extremely damaging. Moreover, nobody has the right to make assumptions for someone’s future based upon their past. It is simply unfair and quite devastating for the person who is already struggling with addiction on so many levels.
Lastly, it is important to remember that the person suffering from addiction is already going through a lot. Therefore, instead of making the journey more troublesome for them it would be best to be a positive presence in their life. Encouraging them and providing compassionate support is the best way to show your care and concern for your loved one in this condition.