When you love someone who is a drug addict, it is incredibly difficult in so many ways. People who struggle with drug addiction tend to be unable to love the people around them as they once did because they’re consumed by a focus on getting high and obtaining more drugs.
Drug addicts also exhibit many behaviors that can destroy the lives of the people around them. For example, drug addicts will often lie and steal to get more drugs. They will also try to manipulate situations to facilitate their addiction.
In addition to the negative behaviors of an addict, you may also find that you’re often scared or on edge. Loved ones of addicts tend always to be worried about something bad happening, or wondering if the next phone call they receive is going to be the news they dread the most.
Drug addiction is particularly difficult to deal with because there aren’t a lot of things you can do to help the addict.
There’s no way to fix them, and there’s no way to change a drug addict unless they have the desire to seek treatment and make a change. This is one of the biggest mistakes loved ones of addicts often make. They will tend to think they can somehow make the problem go away and they become frustrated, discouraged and even depressed when it doesn’t work.
So how do you confront a drug addict?
What to Know About How to Confront a Drug Addict
If you’re at the point in your life where you can’t stand by any longer and watch an addict destroy themselves, you may be wondering how to confront an addict. It’s a difficult situation when you’re confronting an addict because they may be in denial or they may become defensive and unwilling to have the conversation that needs to be had.
When you’re confronting someone about drug use, they may see what you’re saying as a criticism or an unnecessary concern, and they may lash out at you.
While learning how to confront a family member on drugs or another loved one is difficult, it’s also necessary.
The following are some specific things to keep in mind when you’re confronting someone about drug use and addiction:
- Try to keep calm, no matter what. You don’t want the conversation to begin angrily or seem like venting. You want to simply be factual when you’re learning how to confront a drug user. You want to remain calm and steady, and don’t let yourself be drawn into an argument.
- It’s also important when you’re learning how to confront an addict that you don’t seem like you’re When you react this way, it leads to defensiveness from the addict. While the person you love may have made an initial choice to do drugs, they are now experiencing the symptoms of a disease, and you should always try to keep that in mind.
- As you’re exploring how to confront a family member on drugs, think about trying to focus on how their addiction makes you feel. You should be honest about your feelings and be specific. What often happens is that addicts are so focused on drugs that they honestly don’t see how their actions are affecting the people around them, so they may be in denial. By showing concrete examples of how their specific actions have impacted your feelings, it can help you chip away at some of that denial.
- It’s also important when confronting someone about drug use that you try and catch them at a time when they’re sober. This is often first thing in the morning, right after they wake up. If you try and confront an addict when they’re high, they’re not going to be rational, nor are they likely to be able to control their emotions.
Other tips for how to confront a drug addict include:
- Try to listen to the addict as well as talking about your feelings. Sometimes when people are confronting an addict, they think they have to do all of the talking, but it can be helpful also to listen. This will allow the addict to feel like they can trust and confide in you.
- Try to be consistent when you’re learning how to confront an addict. You will probably find yourself confronting an addict over and over again until they finally accept treatment, and when doing so, you want your message and delivery always to be the same.
- Set boundaries and define consequences. The key phrase to keep in mind when learning how to confront an addict is often tough love. This means that when you’re confronting someone about drug use or learning how to confront someone about drug use, you keep in mind unconditional love, with strict boundaries at the same time.
For a lot of people, the best way to learn how to confront a drug addict is to stage an intervention with the help of a professional therapist or interventionist. This allows a group of loved ones to come together and plan what they’ll say when confronting an addict. This can help alleviate some of the tendency to lose your temper or become overly emotional. The ultimate objective of an intervention is to motivate the addict to seek treatment for their addiction.
The Recovery Village aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers.