communication strategies addicts

Communication Strategies to Use When Talking to an Addict

Communicating with someone who has a substance abuse problem has its challenges. People who use drugs and alcohol often don’t think rationally, making it difficult to reason with them. Drugs and alcohol change people as well, so you may find it hard to get through to a friend or family member. Fortunately, you can learn to communicate with an addict without enabling them. Below we share some practical communication strategies to use when talking to someone with a drug or alcohol problem.

Be Kind and Compassionate

First and foremost, be a kind person, even if your loved one has been found guilty of lying or stealing. Addicts need compassion, and it’s one of the best ways to build trust. Compassion doesn’t mean that you have to accept everything your loved one does. But, you should avoid judging, criticizing or putting down your loved one. This will only distance you from them, making it more difficult to support addiction treatment in Orange County. 

Listen When Your Loved One Opens Up

If your loved one does open up about what’s going on in their life, listen with all ears. This shows that they trust you and may eventually reach out for help. If you interrupt, criticize or question the addict, it’s easy for them to pull away and not open up to you in the future. It’s very likely that you won't agree with your relative’s reasons for using drugs and alcohol, but try to put yourself in their shoes.

Be Consistent in Your Message

Always be consistent when speaking to your loved one. You can’t waiver in your message, otherwise it may confuse a person who wants to hear what they want. Your message should be clear: you love your friend or family member and support their recovery. You do not support their continued use of drugs and alcohol. So, if your husband has a drinking problem, don’t yell at him over it and then share a bottle of wine at dinner.

Show Unconditional Love

It can be hard to love an addict at times, but close friends and family stick around no matter what. Loving someone unconditionally does not mean that you have to put up with everything they do, however. Let your loved one know that you will always love them and be there to support their recovery, but don’t be afraid to set limits and follow through with the consequences.

Support the Process of Change

If your loved one continues to use drugs and alcohol without any consequences, they’ll have no reason to change. Let your loved one know how their substance abuse affects you and your family. Doing this in the presence of a counselor or mediator can be helpful. Suggest going to an AA or NA meeting together, or seeing a family counselor. Continue to educate yourself on addiction and where to get help in Orange County. You can’t force an addict to change, but you can be there to encourage and support their recovery. By being clear in your message, setting limits and following through with consequences, you can guide your loved toward seeking rehab. To learn more about the addiction treatment centers in Orange County, CA, call Drug Help Line today at 800-591-0343.