What to Do When Your Friend Won’t Quit Using
It can be challenging bringing up a friend’s drug or alcohol use, especially if you believe that your friend is dealing with an addiction. It’s normal for you to experience worry, anger, fear, or resentment if your friend won’t quit using. But know, first and foremost, that you can’t force someone into treatment, and you can’t do the work of recovery for them.
For addicts, their focus is their habit, and they’re under the thrall of using. Addiction is a complicated and difficult disease that impacts the brain and the behavior of the user. Addicts will employ the manipulation that addiction creates. This is one of the reasons why the addict’s behavior changes, and their actions, and thoughts, become so centered on their habit.
Addiction is like a chronic disease; with treatment it’s manageable, and your friend or family member can return to living a full and fulfilling life. But you can’t order someone into treatment, and you can’t do the work of recovery for them. It’s up to your friend to seek out treatment. While you can’t control whether your friend quits, there are things that you can do to help your friend and to empower yourself. You want to be able to advocate for and advise your friend, but you may be worried about your help crossing the line into enabling behavior. There’s also the fear that if you set boundaries, and show tough love, you’re not being sympathetic. Stay strong, and know that boundaries are going to help you both.
Addicts are often pros at manipulating family and friends, which is another symptom of the disease. Addicts have one focus in their lives, and that’s using. The disease of addiction is a complicated one, and it ultimately affects the addict’s brain, which is why the user may act in certain ways and close-off while becoming focused on their addiction. But don’t give up. Addiction is manageable with treatment. With help, users can move towards recovery.
The first thing you can do for your friend and yourself is to educate yourself. When you acquire an understanding of addiction, then you’re better equipped to deal with the symptoms that your friend is exhibiting. The next thing is to remember: When you do engage in the hard talk about your friend’s usage, what it’s doing to your relationship, and how it’s impacting other areas of his or her life, be sure to have that conversation when you’re both sober. Preferably in a quiet, private, and safe environment. Plan to leave plenty of time for the talk, and be sure to listen respectfully. Stay receptive. Keep in mind, with the appropriate help, resources, and support, most people can master their addiction.
How to Help
Dealing with an addict, you need to set personal boundaries, and you need to maintain them. Consistency is major when you’re attempting to help your friend. Be patient and understanding that your friend isn’t attacking you personally, but that this is another symptom of the disease. Knowing this can help to reduce the discomfort and hurt from your interactions. And it can help the user to move toward the path of recovery. As much as you want to help, you need to stop short of enabling behavior. While your intentions may be excellent, it’s less likely that your friend will seek help. An addict is more motivated to accept aid if exposed to the consequences of his or her actions. Enabling protects the user from the repercussions and outcomes of their behavior.
Many users deny that they have a problem. Even if they do see the problem, they may still refuse to believe that it’s hurting the people in their lives. This is why intervention can be such a powerful tool. To stage an intervention, it’s best to reach out to a professional with experience in addiction treatment, as well as interventions. Then gather together with family and friends. Each member of the intervention will read a prepared note, explaining how the addict’s use affects them. The letters need to be specific, but not judgmental. The next step is for people to explicate the consequences if the individual doesn’t enter treatment.
You can encourage and support your friend in seeking out professional help and resources. But remember, it’s up to your friend to accept help. As much as you care, you can’t fix another person’s addiction issues. It’s the user’s responsibility to work on overcoming the disease. Understand that as much as you care about your friend, and want to help, the addict must accept responsibility for working towards recovery and getting the addiction under control.
To learn more about how Victory Detox Center can help you or a friend by providing detox, residential inpatient, partial day, intensive outpatient, and outpatient programs, please visit https://victorydetoxcenter.com/contact-us.