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Advice for Supporting a Friend Who Is Struggling With Addiction

May 15, 2024

No matter how healthy you are physically and mentally, addiction is something that can grip you tightly. Having a friend who might be struggling with an addiction can be a delicate situation that requires compassion and understanding. You care about them a lot and want them to get better, but it might feel like walking on eggshells because you don’t want to jeopardize your relationship or give any unsolicited advice.

One of the most crucial steps in helping a friend who is struggling with addiction is to consider drug detox. While it can be difficult to make this suggestion, there are some compassionate ways to initiate the conversation.


Express your concern with understanding

A bit of empathy goes a long way when it comes to expressing your concern with a friend’s addiction. You have to approach them in a non-judgmental way while also showing empathy. Try not to speak about yourself or the situations you’ve seen others in. Understand that everyone’s struggle with addiction is unique to themselves, and it’s important that you establish yourself as a pillar of support that listens to and understands them.

It’s important to think about how you want to convey your feelings without necessarily putting any blame on your friend. Try not to be passive-aggressive or use statements that might be considered rude or counterproductive to helping your friend. Instead, express genuine concern for their well-being in a way that forms an open dialogue of trust.

Gather detox-related resources and try to educate them about it

A lot of people don’t really understand what an alcohol or drug detox involves. They know that it’s a positive thing that helps them overcome addiction, but they aren’t really sure of the mechanisms or techniques involved. This is why it’s important for you to do the research instead of just trying to encourage your friend to do it.

Take the time to do a bit of research on detox. Find statistics about the success rates, look for local detox programs, and build a supportive and informative environment around your friend so that they can make their own decisions. Providing information about the benefits of detox and even getting in touch with other people who have previously been to a detox program can help convince your friend to take action.

However, it’s important not to overlook any potential negatives or downsides. When something sounds too good to be true, it’s not uncommon for someone to think of it as fake or falsified. You have to be realistic about what detox can help your friend achieve, and they need to understand that it’s not a simple or easy task because the last thing you want is to trick them into joining a rehab program.

Offering practical support can go a long way

Going through a detox or rehab program can be extremely intimidating, especially for someone who has been coping with addiction for a really long time. As such, it’s a good idea to offer practical support to your friend. We’ve already mentioned doing some research on detox and rehab programs for them, but you could also make phone calls or even accompany them to their appointments. One of the biggest difficulties that people struggle with is being alone as they try to beat their addiction, so making yourself available and being there for them will make a huge difference.

recovery process

It’s also important to just be with your friend as much as possible. Hang out with them, play video games, go see a movie, or invite them to eat out with other friends. Distracting them from their addiction can be a helpful way to remind them that there’s plenty of good out there in the world, and it’ll make it easier for them to finally realize the good that professional intervention can do.

Never pressure your friend or give them an ultimatum

Perhaps one of the worst things you can do is to pressure your friend into doing something, especially with an ultimatum. It’s natural to feel frustrated that your friend isn’t seeking the help they need. Their mental health is spiraling down before your eyes and you don’t know what to do to make things better. As such, you might find yourself making threats, giving ultimatums, and even pressuring them into doing something.

This almost never works because it could potentially turn you into an “enemy” in their eyes. You could lose any trust that you’ve built together, and they may start to avoid you because of the pressure you’re putting on them. This is extremely counterproductive and should be avoided at all costs.

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