Addressing Addiction in Friendships
January 30, 2017 - Addiction - 0 Comments
Close friends are often the first to notice a drug or alcohol problem, yet it can be painfully challenging for them to initiate an open, honest conversation about their concerns. They may feel as if they’re overreacting or fear their friend’s reaction or the loss of a friendship. All of these concerns are valid; finding the right words to address addiction in friendships is not easy but speaking up is important.
Am I Overreacting?
One of the primary factors that prevent a friend from initiating an intervention is the fear they may be overreacting to social or non-problematic drinking or drug use. Asking these questions can help differentiate between social and problematic drug or alcohol use:
- is he or she taking prescription drugs other than as prescribed (i.e. different route, more than prescribed, for indications not prescribed, etc)
- has he or she shared a desire to quit?
- does he or she spend a lot of time either using or recovering from the drug or alcohol?
- is drug or alcohol use affecting his or her ability to perform at work or home?
- is the drug or alcohol use causing problems in their relationships?
- does he or she miss or give up important events and activities due to drug or alcohol use or recovery?
- do they exhibit withdrawal symptoms (even as subtle as irritability) without the drug?
- do they suffer from financial problems as a result of the drug or alcohol use?
If the answer to some of these questions is yes, there is a strong indication of addiction and a discussion is warranted.
Have an Open Discussion
The first step in addressing the addiction of a friend is to open a dialog, preparing oneself for any reaction. Discussions like should not be held while he or she is under the influence or drugs or alcohol. He or she may be most receptive following a binge while feeling ill and remorseful about the behavior.
Separate the person from the behavior in the discussion. While the addiction is bad and the measures he or she will take to get the drug or while under the influence of the drug are bad, the person is not bad. It’s important to believe this and communicate this in order to have an effective discussion.
It can also be eye-opening to share the impact the addiction has had or may have on things that are important to the person facing addiction, such as their job, friends, family, and children.
The person initiating the conversation should consider potential solutions before beginning the discussion. Inpatient Christian rehab centers can offer drug and alcohol treatment along with spiritual growth and healing for long-term results. Local support groups can be a helpful first step as well, although they can’t provide the same support and accountability that an inpatient stay can provide.
A good friend should also consider the potential concerns his or friend may bring up about treatment such as who will care for their kids, home, pets, or spouse while they are away and what will happen at work if they have to leave for awhile. Sometimes a simple, “I can take care of your home,” is all the encouragement it takes.
Don’t Give Up
Many persons struggling with addiction respond to intervention with anger and denial. It’s important not to give up on those who aren’t ready yet but instead, show support and stand by in case help or encouragement are needed in the future.
His and Her Houses offers industry leading Drug Addiction Treatment programs. We were founded in 1994 and we base our programs on five key principles: commitment, honesty, integrity, respect, and service. These five principles guide us in all that we do and all the care we provide. Contact us today to see how we can help you or your love one at (888) 376-7268