When you have a close friend who’s struggling with addiction, it can feel horrible. Every day, you’ll probably be reminded of their problem, and how hopeless the situation feels. Watching their addiction turn them into someone they’re not is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. Obviously, you’ll want to do something about their issue. Like with anything, there’s a right way and a wrong way to go about this. Here are the best tips I can offer for helping your friend through recovery.
First of all, talk to them, but don’t be too invasive. Unless your friend’s problem is becoming a serious danger to their health, you need to let them have some space. This is especially true if their habit is well-known to the people in their life. A lot of addicts feel under fire from all sides. Their parents and family will probably be on their case constantly, telling them they need to get clean. Obviously this is with the best intentions, but it can easily kindle resentment in addicted people. When approaching them, be a friend and not a cop. Make it clear that you care about them, but don’t get angry or judgemental. This way, they’ll be far more receptive to recovery. You can find a guide to starting at: www.drugabuse.gov.
My next tip is to suggest treatment if the alternatives aren’t working. Again, try to do this is a friend, rather than someone who always knows what’s best. As you can imagine, a lot of addicts aren’t exactly receptive to the idea of rehab or something similar. If you’re going to stage an intervention, do it in a calm, appropriate way. Involve people who you know care about your friend, in a setting that’s safe and familiar. Their home or a family member’s place is usually good. Make sure everyone has their turn to speak and the situation doesn’t spiral out of control. Never lock doors or block exits if your addict wants to leave. When the time is right, share some information on recovery centres like this one: https://arcproject.org.uk/alcohol-detox/.
Once you’ve got your addict into a recovery program, make sure to stay involved and show them that you care. This can be hard, as recovering addicts, even those we love, can be very frustrating to deal with. A lot of people simply send their friend or relative off to a centre, sit back and assume that everything will be fine. This is the one thing you shouldn’t do. You could have your addict being treated by the best therapist in the world. If they don’t have ongoing support from loved ones though, their progress won’t be anywhere near as good. Make sure to visit them at their centre, and send them care packages if you can. If there are family days, ask your addict’s relatives if it would be okay for you to come along. It’s much easier to fight an addiction when you feel there are people rooting for you.
Seeing a close friend in the hold of an addiction is horrible. However, it’s your responsibility to help them through it. Take this advice, and their road to recovery will be much easier.