Mental health and emotional well-being is a neglected subject in our society. Often, children grow up to neglect mental health to the extent of a breakdown.
These children turn into adults and find themselves standing on a path that ends at substance abuse.
Substance abuse can lead to an addiction that can wreak havoc in all aspects of an individual’s life.
During such times, support can be the difference between a person making it through a hard time and giving up on life.
Research has repeatedly found that social support leads to beneficial outcomes, e.g., getting clean from substance abuse.
It may be tempting to nag or lecture your friend over their substance abuse problem, but research has shown it to be ineffective.
Instead, you have to be patient, open-minded, and sincere with your loved one suffering from substance abuse.
If somebody you love is struggling with addiction, we suggest a few ways you can address the matter:
#1. Having a Conversation
Approaching your friend to convince them to get help seems like a daunting task. But, many experts agree it is best to be sincere with your friend.
You can talk about how their addiction has been affecting not only their life but yours as well. Your friend might get defensive or even outrightly deny that their addiction is an issue.
In this case, it is critical to keep a reassuring tone and structure your sentences in such a way that keep all blame off of them.
For example: “I’ve noticed certain behavior changes in you, can I talk to you about them?”
The important bit is not to get frustrated or try to guilt-trip them into anything. Remember, addiction is a disease, and it can be difficult to view it objectively.
#2. Watch Your Behavior Towards Your Friend
You might have been enabling your friends’ behavior without realizing it. As a concerned friend, you may be aiding your friend’s addiction by cushioning the consequences of their actions for them.
For example, if your friend with an alcohol addiction gets arrested, you might get them out by paying for their bail. They didn’t face the consequences because you rescued them.
You might be loaning money to a friend, unaware that they are using it to satiate their addiction. You think you are helping your friend, but it is not the case. Thus, it is crucial to be mindful of your actions and their consequences.
#3. Plan an Intervention
Intervening – by consensus of forcefully – to help your friends overcome substance abuse sometimes becomes indispensable.
You can get your friend in a room with others who love them (mutual friends or family). Then talk to the person about how their addiction has affected you or your relationship with them.
Ideally, in an actual intervention, a therapist or an intervention expert should be present.
Furthermore, at the end of the intervention, be prepared to give your friend resources they can use to their advantage.
These resources can be a list of support groups for them to seek help. Or, you can provide them with reading resources to overcome their addictions.
If your friend agrees to seek help, then your next step should be to find a good rehab centre for them. In this case, you can search ‘drug rehabs near me’ on the internet. The results will give you the information on all the reputed rehabs in your area.
Once you have selected a rehab centre, book an appointment for your friend and accompany them on their visits.
Interventions can allow an individual to see the impact that their behavior has had on others. It gives insight into how loved they are at the same time.
#4. Consider Tough Love
Sometimes, you have to be strict with people having substance abuse problems. However, this option should be used after you have exhausted all other options.
As a friend, this can include cutting them off. As a spouse, it can include asking for space until they decide to get help. It can even go as far as to separate your kids from a parent or a loved one to give a wake-up call.
#5. Don’t Forget About Yourself
Although looking after friends comes naturally, it can be exhausting as well. So, it is important to strike a balance between your mental health and helping your friend.
You will also find support groups for individuals whose loved ones are going through addiction. You can join such support groups and find what will work to keep you level-headed and unburdened.
#6. Support Your Friend When They Do Decide to Get Help
It’ll be a tough road, but once your friend/loved one decides to get help, it is important to be supportive.
Show your support by visiting them when possible, taking them to their therapy sessions, or merely listening to them with an empathetic ear.
Your friend will end up learning a lot about themselves, so it might help them to have someone they trust to share it with.
Recovering from substance abuse is a long and painful process. Keep in mind that things may get uglier before they get better.
Recovery carries on with a person throughout their life, and your friend will need your support and love to get through it.
You might see your friend relapsing many times before treatment works for them. The key is to be consistent and help them apply the things they’ve learned in therapy and treatment to live a normal life.