Many of us who have a friend or loved one struggling with addiction want to help, but don’t always know how. Our intentions are the best, but for those who have never struggled with addiction problems, it’s hard to comprehend the struggle that the addict goes through on a daily basis, much less how to help them.
One thing we have to understand is that the addiction is theirs, and we can’t ‘fix’ or ‘cure’ it. The choice is always theirs, but for those struggling with addiction that have decided to seek help, there are things we can do to help encourage and support them.
Some days will be more difficult than others. Even after going through rehab and being clean for a while, the struggle is there. Sometimes the urge can become overwhelming, so encouraging your friend/loved one to become involved in a 12-step program can help with the daily struggle. Being able to connect with people who have been there and understand the urges and can offer support can be crucial to their recovery.
Encourage the drug addict to avoid all contact with friends who also had addiction or other problems. This may be difficult for the addict, especially if their entire circle of friends were addicts, but avoiding ANY contact will help avoid the addict coming in contact with the drugs and being tempted. Most addicts who don’t break their former ties with other addicts eventually start using again.
If the addict hasn’t already been, encourage them to get into a reputable rehab program that will help them detox and also start the recovery process. Information for your area can be found on the Internet and also in your telephone books yellow pages.
Invite the person to get involved with new activities. Things can be extremely overwhelming when trying to beat addiction with literally everything in the person’s life changing. Encourage them to explore new interests and hobbies, such as photography, sports, painting, or any activity that will bring them enjoyment and help them rebuild their new life.
Probably one of the biggest things you can do is to let the person know that you are there for them. Offer your support and encouragement, letting them know that you are there for them when they need to talk, even if that means a call at three in the morning. While you can’t stop them from using if the urge hits them, you can let them know they can count on you to be there to help them through those difficult times that they are going to encounter, and that will help them in overcoming their .