If a close friend of yours has a problem with drugs and/or alcohol, you might be unsure about what to do. You want to assist them, but you’re not sure what to do or where to start. Here’s how to help a friend struggling with an addiction.

 

Listen to Them

 

Addiction is a disease, and people struggling with addiction are the best sources to gain further understanding. Verywell Mind says, “Whether they are a loved one or not, a person with an addiction is more likely to confide in you about what is really going on for them if you listen without interrupting or criticizing.” Unfortunately, too many addicts find themselves silenced by people who think they know what you’re going through. Not letting your friend speak will be a roadblock to their recovery. When they signal they have something to say, don’t prevent them from speaking. They could be giving you vital information about how their addiction started and why it’s been so hard for them to quit. It can also be very therapeutic for them to know that they have a voice.

 

Resource: https://www.verywellmind.com/how-to-talk-to-an-addict-22012

 

Don’t Judge

 

Your friend is not a bad person for dealing with an addiction. It might’ve been a bad decision that led to using drugs, but that doesn’t mean you should consider yourself superior to them. If your friend admits that they’re struggling with addiction, don’t become smug or start gloating. Show Christ-like compassion by responding from a place of love, not hostility. Remind them that they are not damaged goods. Just because you love your friend, it doesn’t mean you have to love their addiction. Refrain from enabling them by letting them know that you’re willing to help them but only if they’re serious about staying clean.

 

Stage an Intervention

 

What is an intervention? It’s bringing friends of an addict together to address their addiction in a group setting. The Recovery Village explains, “An intervention is something that involves intervening in the life or behavior of a person, in the hopes of changing their behavior or the outcome of the situation at hand. An intervention is often something that happens when the loved ones of an addict see their life spiraling out of control, and they want to do something to help them, and they want to also end their own enabling.“ If successful, an intervention should result in an addict admitting they have a problem and agreeing to seek help. This help should come in the form of professional treatment.

 

Resource: https://www.therecoveryvillage.com/intervention/

 

Give Them Meaningful Distractions

 

The power of addiction means that it can only be overcome by people who are serious about getting away from it. Getting away from their addiction may require them to face strong adversity and temptation from people they used to know or hang out with. It may also require them to avoid places where they used to abuse drugs. Because recovering addicts have to cut themselves off from a lot of people and places they used to know, it leaves a void of loneliness and boredom. It is important to fill that void with new people and activities. You can’t be around your friend all the time, but you can help them bring some balance and responsibility to their life. Should they need new employment, you can help them with applying for jobs. Encourage them to develop new habits and new hobbies that keep them away from tempting or triggering influences. Many recovering addicts, for example, find that going to the gym frequently to exercise too is a very helpful distraction. When going through rehab, your friend should be given ample tools for managing their addiction.

 

You can help your friend as much as possible, but whether or not they overcome their addiction is ultimately up to them. Don’t pass judgment but don’t let them manipulate you either. This is a taxing experience for both your friend and the people around them. To help your friend out, you need to give them the help they need, which isn’t always the help they want.

 

 

 

Colleen Batchelder

Colleen Batchelder

Colleen Batchelder has always been passionate about putting Feet to her Faith! She loves traveling the globe minstering at various churches, colleges and conferences speaking to audiences ranging in age from 9 – 101. She speaks on inter-generational communication, reaching millennials within the workplace and church and breaking down generational assumptions.

When she’s not pouring over books, you can find her enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.
Colleen Batchelder
Colleen Batchelder"> Colleen Batchelder
Colleen Batchelder has always been passionate about putting Feet to her Faith! She loves traveling the globe minstering at various churches, colleges and conferences speaking to audiences ranging in age from 9 – 101. She speaks on inter-generational communication, reaching millennials within the workplace and church and breaking down generational assumptions. When she’s not pouring over books, you can find her enjoying a nice Chai Latte, exploring NYC or traveling to a new and exotic destination.

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